Most Adults ‘Worried’ About Riding in Driverless Cars: Study

Most Adults ‘Worried’ About Riding in Driverless Cars: Study

A new study suggests that an overwhelming majority of adults would be worried about the safety of riding in a self-driving car. 

The data comes from a Harris Poll conducted among 2,039 adults ages 18 and older that suggests 88 percent of participants are generally worried by the idea of being driven in an autonomous car while 79 percent are concerned that braking software or other safety systems might fail.

The idea of a driverless car could raise other safety and liability questions. For example, 59 percent of the participants expressed concern about who would be held responsible if a driverless car were involved in an accident. Over half said they worried about people being able to hack in and control the car remotely and over a third said they would worry about travel data being collected.

Driverless cars like the one Google is currently testing are still far away, but companies are working to integrate greater degrees of autonomy into their current products. Certain cars are able to completely stop themselves if they sense an impending crash and the driver fails to react in time. Adaptive cruise control systems will slow down and speed up again for the driver, but being able to go without a driver for a complete trip is still something automakers and technology companies are struggling with, partially because of some of the same issues raised in the study.

  • Transpower

    I am a theoretical physicist and systems/mechanical engineer. One of my commercial software packages is Optimal Control Designer. The difficulty of designing a control system to cover practically every eventuality in automobile driving should not be underestimated; I am skeptical that the designers have considered the zillions of situations which arise. I do like adaptive cruise control, but I am leery of going further than that. Fully automated driving for elderly people around town might work OK, however.