News & Views

American Honda will, from time to time, place collision industry magazine articles at this site addressing news, issues, and trends that could be of interest to consumers.

These articles are offered as informational only, reprinted as found in various collision industry magazines, and do not necessarily represent the position or opinion of American Honda.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Automaker Poll Shows Consumer Concerns About Self-Driving Cars

Consumers value new technological safety innovations in automobiles like driver assists, but remain cool to the idea of self-driving cars, according to new public opinion polling conducted on behalf of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance).

The survey of consumer attitudes shows that a majority (59 percent) believe that technological innovations such as driver-assist technologies are making cars safer, and six in 10 consumers want to check out these systems next time they buy a car.

According to Alliance poll results, 33 percent indicate self-driving cars are a good idea, 42 percent saying they are a bad idea, and 24 percent unsure. Many consumers are unsure about the importance of self-driving cars:

  • 40 percent of respondents believe self-driving cars do not enhance safety
  • 24 percent say they enhance safety by limiting human error.
  • 12 percent see them as important to allow elderly and disabled people to drive.
  • 8 percent believe they liberate people to do other things in the vehicle.
  • 16 percent are unsure of the importance of self-driving cars.

Today, the driver is responsible for controlling the vehicle, and consumers expect the same laws to apply for self-driving cars. Polling shows strong consumer support for requiring the driver or operator of a self-driving vehicle to have a driver's license (86 percent), for prohibiting the driver from texting/surfing the internet (72 percent), for not allowing the driver to be under 16 years old (86 percent) and for banning alcohol consumption while operating the vehicle (88 percent).

If a self-driving car were in an accident, who should be liable for the damage? About one third of respondents (31 percent) were unsure. According to the poll, 30 percent said the software company controlling the vehicle, 22 percent said the vehicle owner, 7 percent said the company that installed the equipment and 7 percent said the vehicle manufacturer.

Cyber-security remains a top concern. Poll results indicate that drivers are unlikely to cede control of their cars until convinced that automated technology is safe and reliable. A majority (81 percent) said they were very/somewhat concerned about a computer hacker controlling the vehicle, while 14 percent were not very concerned, and only 2 percent were not concerned at all.

Privacy is an issue for consumers, with 75 percent saying they were very/somewhat concerned that companies would collect data from the software operating self-driving cars, and 70 percent were very/somewhat concerned this information would be shared with the government.

Polling sheds additional light on concerns consumer have with self-driving cars:

  • 45 percent trust auto manufacturers most to put self-driving technology into cars, compared to only 25 percent for technology companies; only 5 percent trust after-market product shops to install self-driving equipment.
  • 42 percent think self-driving cars should only be allowed to operate in specially assigned lanes as opposed to being allowed on all roads (21 percent).
  • 43 percent expect fewer accidents to occur if self-driving cars were in operation and only 7 percent expected accidents to be eliminated, while 16 percent thought more accidents would occur.

The national poll of 2000 adults, with a +/-2 percentage points margin of sampling error, was conducted on April 13th by Pulse Opinion Research.

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