Drivers Appreciate Safety Tech but Fear Self-Driving Cars

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
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Technology can profoundly change our lives for the better, but it isn’t always welcomed with open arms. This is the case within the automotive sphere, where car buyers have been reluctant to embrace certain key innovations. One new survey polls drivers on technological developments that have the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry, and their response is mixed.

  • A new survey by ValuePenguin looks at consumer sentiment regarding automotive innovations such as driver-assist features, self-driving cars and electric vehicles (EVs).
  • The survey shows that 6 in 10 drivers are concerned with the amount of tech in cars now relative to five years ago.
  • Those polled are appreciative of driver-assist features but less excited about self-driving cars and EVs.

This survey was conducted in December 2019, and it’s based on an online poll of 1,120 Americans. The sample base was proportioned to be representative of the overall U.S. population.

ValuePenguin’s survey shows 6 out of 10 drivers are concerned about the amount of technology that’s currently in cars. (Photo: Wallace Chuck/Pexels)

Fearful of self-driving cars

Self-driving cars have been met with great enthusiasm on some fronts. Some experts point out that this technology has the potential to reduce accidents and create safer roads. However, it takes a certain amount of faith to hand over your car keys to artificial intelligence. Consumers have expressed distrust for this technology in some surveys, including this one from ValuePenguin.

Those polled by ValuePenguin believe self-driving vehicles are on the way. The findings show 64 percent believe self-driving cars will be on the road within the next 10 years. In fact, these cars are already on our streets in limited numbers. But while they recognize the imminence of this technology, the survey shows consumers aren’t comfortable with it; 72 percent say they would feel unsafe with self-driving cars on the road.

Though the majority of respondents distrust autonomous cars, there are big differences in sentiment depending on age and gender. The youngest group surveyed is from Generation Z, and 48 percent of them say they’d feel safe with this technology. The level of trust regarding this innovation tends to decline as the age of the respondent increases. Only 35 percent of millennials and 28 percent of those from Generation X say they feel safe with this technology. With baby boomers and those from the Silent Generation, 17 percent and 21 percent, respectively, feel safe with this innovation.

Women seem to have less faith in autonomous cars than men. Of those surveyed, 78 percent of females say they’d feel unsafe with self-driving cars on the road. With men, that number comes in at 65 percent.

Lukewarm on EVs

A majority of those surveyed have no plans to purchase an EV (like the Chevy Bolt, shown here) within the next few years. (Photo: Chevrolet)

ValuePenguin’s survey suggest EVs aren’t likely to achieve market dominance anytime soon. A whopping 74 percent of those polled say they don’t plan to purchase an EV within the next five years, and 44 percent say they have no plans to ever buy a fully electric car. Only 30 percent anticipate buying an EV six or more years from now.

Again, there are stark differences based on age and gender. Of the women polled, 51 percent say they would never plan to buy an EV; with men, that number is 38 percent. Among those from Generation Z, 37 percent own or expect to buy an EV over the next five years. Only 13 percent of baby boomers and 10 percent of those from the Silent Generation expect to make an EV purchase within a five-year window.

Support for driver-assist features

The survey shows consumers support technologies that aid the driving experience while allowing the driver to remain in control. They believe features such as Bluetooth connectivity, rearview cameras, adaptive cruise control and lane-centered steering make driving safer.

Forty-seven percent have a rearview camera, but only 35 percent of those who have one trust it completely and rely solely on it. Sixty-two percent say they trust it somewhat and use it in conjunction with their mirrors. Fifty-five percent believe driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control make driving safer. Forty-five percent believe these features bring no change in safety or a less safe experience.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Consumers have doubts and fears regarding certain types of automotive technology. Carmakers need to fully understand these perceptions. Armed with this insight, they may be able to change belief systems and broaden adoption by taking steps to educate car buyers.



About the Author

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
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