While those who follow the developments surrounding autonomous cars may fall numb to much of the technology, everyday consumers aren’t exactly in love with the idea of handing over control to their car.
A new study from J.D. Power shows consumers are growing less trustworthy of autonomous vehicles compared to results from last year. Specifically, all age groups save for Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1994) registered less confidence in driverless cars compared to last year.
Intriguingly, the even younger Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2004) was even less confident than Generation Y. 11 percent more respondents from Gen Z said they “definitely would not” trust self-driving cars. 23 percent more said they “probably would not” trust them, either. Maybe the internet-ridden Gen Y-ers really do have more confidence in technology after all.
Nine percent more of pre-baby boomers (born before 1946) said they “definitely would not” trust the technology compared to last year as well.
It’s the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) themselves who really don’t like the idea of robocars. A whopping 81 percent of baby boomers said they either “definitely” or “probably” would not trust driverless cars.
Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and Human Machine Interface (HMI) research at J.D. Power, offered up a bit of an explanation for the waning interest.
“In most cases, as technology concepts get closer to becoming reality, consumer curiosity and acceptance increase,” she said. However, “with autonomous vehicles, we see a pattern where trust drives interest in the technology, and right now the level of trust is declining.”
On the flip side, consumers have struck a honeymoon period with active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, rearview cameras, automatic braking and other things. These technologies may prime consumers for greater acceptance, according to Kolodge.
“As features like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind-spot warning systems become mainstream,” she said, “car buyers will gain more confidence in taking their hands off the steering wheel and allowing their vehicles to step in to prevent human error.”