RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 18, 2018 -- Less than half of Americans (43 percent) are interested in utilizing self-driving cars, down from 53 percent last year, according to the fourth annual Sharing Economy Index* released by Allianz Global Assistance. The lack of interest is primarily attributed to safety concerns (71 percent in 2018, compared to 65 percent in 2017), while other reasons include cost/budget, lack of familiarity and bad publicity. Recent high-profile crashes involving self-driving cars have dampened America's confidence and excitement over auto-piloted vehicles. In March, two self-driving vehicles were involved in fatal accidents.
Even more indicative of Americans' sentiment on self-driving vehicles, only 52 percent of Americans (down 12 points from 2017) say they are confident that the technology will develop safely enough to consider trading their conventional vehicles for self-driving ones.
Companies continue to invest billions of dollars into autonomous vehicle technology, despite the recent fatal crashes. Supporting these findings by Ipsos and Allianz Global Assistance is a Pew Research Center survey which found that 39 percent said they were not sure whether the vehicles would make roads safer or more dangerous, and 87 percent favored requiring that a human always be behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry.
"Based on consumer perceptions, our survey reveals an uncertain future for self-driving cars," says Daniel Durazo, director of communications, Allianz Global Assistance USA. "Many Americans are far from being convinced that self-driving cars can be operated safely on our streets. As our Future of Travel survey last year indicated, more travelers would feel safer on a rocket to space than being a passenger in a self-driving vehicle." View the Future of Travel survey results here.