Self-driving cars will be here within five years. Could fear of the unknown hinder auto industry sales? Or will ride-sharing give people confidence to buy?
While details on which OEM, when and where are still unknown, a critical question remains: who will bite?
If they build it, will consumers come?
In a recent AAA study, 75% of U.S. drivers reported being afraid to ride in a self-driving car.
But we don't believe this number will remain high for long.
Intel Corporation also conducted a qualitative study this past June to understand how backseat passengers interacted with autonomous cars. See the full study in this video: Intel's Autonomous Driving Group's HMI/Trust Research Results.
It’s interesting that for every fear about self-driving cars, there’s a counterargument that dissipates that fear.
For example, one study found that passengers fear the car's lack of human judgment. However, this concern is mitigated when passengers understand that self-driving vehicles will follow the rules, completely eliminating human error.
“People are unpredictable,” and "people make bad choices” were among participants' verbatims.
Between now and 2020, much more research will be available. Real-life situations like GM’s Bolt and Cruise Automation tests of autonomous ride-sharing among its San Francisco employees and the University of Michigan’s autonomous public transportation will provide us with more insight on how best to overcome consumer fear.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said customers’ trust in self-driving cars will grow as people experience them.
“The best way is to actually get in the vehicle,” she told Detroit News reporters in June. “You can talk about it, but until you can experience it … that’s why we think putting it in ride-sharing fleets is going to be so very, very important to get that experience.”
The future is bright; the future is autonomous.
What scares you and what excites you about this impending reality? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.