Majority of Americans ‘unlikely’ to use self-driving cars, finds poll

Across the US, investment in autonomous vehicles and automated driving technologies is growing every day. Yet despite the industry’s efforts, more than half of Americans (54%) say they are unlikely to use fully self-driving cars when they arrive on the roads.

That’s according to a new Northeastern University/Gallup survey exploring people’s attitudes towards artificial intelligence.

At the same time, found the study, others are more prepared to hand over control to a self-driving vehicle. College graduates, for example, were twice as inclined to say they are likely to use a self-driving car (38%) as those without a college degree (19%).

Respondents’ attitudes also varied with age. While only 12% of those aged 66 or over said they were likely to use a self-driving car, this figure tripled among those aged 18-35, with 36% of this age group saying they were likely to do so.

The survey also found that Americans are hesitant about sharing the road with self-driving vehicles. Despite an estimated $1 billion of industry investment into self-driving trucks in 2017, more than six in 10 of those polled (62%) said they would be uncomfortable sharing the road with the autonomous vehicles, compared to just one in five (20%) who would feel comfortable doing so.

For those developing self-driving cars and trucks, however, all may not be lost. Gallup noted that Americans have previously underestimated their potential adoption of new technology, with a survey in 2000 finding that nearly a quarter of US adults said they would never get a cellphone.