A new survey, published in time for this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, has asked Canadians for their views on autonomous driving, to find out how ready they are to hand over control to a driverless car.
According to the poll, by online insurance marketplace Kanetix.ca, one in four respondents (26%) said that they couldn’t wait for the day when driverless cars would be a reality, a slight increase on the 25% of respondents who said the same in a similar survey last year.
The majority of Canadian drivers (56%) remained neutral about the idea, saying that it would depend on the technology and how well it works before they make a decision.
However, on a more positive note for the driverless industry, only 18% of respondents said that they love driving too much to say a definite no to driverless cars, down from 23% in last year's survey.
Younger consumers are the most excited about driverless cars, with more than a third (36%) of 18 to 34 year olds saying that they can’t wait for the day when driverless cars arrive.
And, as awareness increases of different self-driving safety features, such as front crash prevention, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot detection, the survey found that 59% of Canadians would buy or lease a car with such features.
Andrew Lo, chief operating officer and tech expert at Kanetix.ca, said: “Technology is continually improving and innovating, and we have already seen auto-manufacturers incorporate self-driving safety aspects in some existing vehicles, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) or sensors that temporarily control steering to avoid collisions.
“It’s still a jump for most people to make in terms of going completely driverless but Canadians are interested in these improved safety features and, as a result, seem willing to slowly adopt more automated functions.”
Improvement in overall driving experience
The survey also found that even if not all Canadians are ready for a fully driverless experience, an overwhelming majority believes that autonomous cars will have a positive impact on the roads.
Four out of five consumers (81%) agree that driverless cars will eliminate the threat of distracted driving, 73% believe that their arrival will reduce accidents and fatalities on the roads, and 68% think that autonomous vehicles will increase safety for other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) felt that the overall driving experience would improve as a result of self-driving cars.
However, more than half of those questioned (54%) do not expect driverless cars to improve traffic.