Close to one-third (31%) of drivers in 2021 said they were concerned about the development of self-driving cars as compared with nearly half (47%) in 2018, according to a recent survey from Car Gurus.
Over time, people appear to have become more comfortable with the concept of autonomous vehicles, though safety remains top-of-mind with consumers.
More than half — 51% — of respondents said their biggest concern about self-driving cars is safety. That was followed by concerns about expense (45%) and who would be responsible in the event something goes wrong (43%).
Drivers seem to feel most confident when they envision themselves at the helm, with 53% saying they would feel comfortable being the “pilot” in a self-driving car. Some 32% of respondents said they are OK with sharing the roads with self-driving vehicles, and 31% are comfortable being a passenger.
However, comfort levels start to drop when respondents were asked about loved ones, and also about autonomous trucks. Less than one-third (29%) said they would feel at ease putting a loved one in a self-driving car. Moreover, only 22% of those surveyed acknowledged they would feel comfortable sharing the roadways with self-driving delivery trucks or fleets.
Noteworthy, 20% of respondents said they are uncomfortable with all of the above-mentioned scenarios, admitting an overall wariness about welcoming self-driving vehicles to the nation’s roads.
Conversely, automated driver assistance systems (ADAS) are widely embraced and regarded as positive safety advancements.
While a whopping 68% of those surveyed agreed that ADAS technologies make travel by car safer, just 31% said self-driving cars will make travel by cars safer.
The top three ADAS features that drivers already own are backup camera (42%), adaptive cruise control (19%), and blind-spot monitoring (17%).
The top three reasons people imagine they would use a self-driving car are to get themselves home safely when they are unable to do so (56%), to park itself (42%), and to pick up groceries or online orders (36%).