It wasn’t that long ago when autonomous vehicles were still just something in a sci-fi film. Now numerous companies, from Google to Jaguar Land Rover, are testing or creating tests for autonomous vehicles.
When you’re stuck in crawling traffic on the motorway, the ability to switch off and watch a movie, read a book or just enjoy a chat with your fellow passengers might sound very appealing. But just how many of us would be willing to put our trust in a car and take the leap by getting in an autonomous vehicle ourselves?
In the UK, it seems we’re a bit hesitant about the whole thing. Research commissioned by IAM RoadSmart, formerly known as the Institute of Advanced Motorists, found nearly two thirds (65%) believe a human should always be in control of a vehicle.
What’s more, the survey of 1,000 British drivers found just over a third (34%) believes the technology’s a bad idea.
Across the pond, our US counterparts seem to be more at peace with the idea of a self-driving car, as a survey by global consulting firm AlixPartners found nearly three quarters (73%) of the 1,500 respondents aged between 18 and 65 said they would like a vehicle to do all the driving.
Interestingly, the survey also revealed how people want autonomous cars to be made, with the body built by automotive manufacturers, and the car’s software being built by tech firms.
This revelation’s quite significant as automakers and tech firms are currently resisting forming partnerships. One reason why the two sides are remaining separate’s due to arguments over who will own the artificial intelligence, software and revenue streams.
But it’s not just who will make what aspect of the car that divides consumers.
Self-driving cars raise all kinds of ethical dilemmas. For example, should a self-driving car risk the lives of the passengers if the car was about to hit a large group of pedestrians? A study of 2,000 US residents said yes, the passengers should be sacrificed for the greater good in an emergency.
With the news of the first person to die while using a self-driving vehicle at the beginning of July, the ethical issues surrounding self-driving cars are sure to become a more central part of the argument for and against this new technology.
What do you think? Would you buy, or travel in, a self-driving car?