Survey: Most U.S. Adults Fear Riding in Driverless Car

Mar 21, 2014

Eight-eight percent of adults would be worried about riding in a driverless car, according to a recent survey commissioned by Seapine Software.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive among more than 2,000 adults ages 18 and older, indicated that 79 percent of U.S. adults have concerns about equipment failures, such as a braking software glitch or a failed warning sensor.

“As driverless cars enter the market, car manufacturers face the challenge of managing new technologies like wheel speed sensors and laser scanners, to ensure quality, safety, and compliance with strict government standards and regulations,” said Rick Riccetti, president and CEO of Seapine Software. “This research confirms that consumers likely won’t hand over the wheel until auto companies can prove equipment is safe from software glitches or failures.”

The security of driverless cars also was a concern among the survey participants. Fifty-nine percent of the participants are worried about liability issues like who would be responsible if a driverless car is involved in an accident, while 52 percent reported fear that a hacker could breach the driverless car’s system and gain control of the vehicle. About 37 percent expressed concern that auto companies, insurers, advertisers and municipalities would collect personal from the vehicle, according to Seapine Software.

“To meet these challenges, auto companies must implement suitable methods and measures for software development to manage quality and mitigate risk,” Riccetti said.

Age did not affect survey participants’ apprehensions. Ninety-three percent of adults 65 years and older, and 84 percent of 18-to-34-year-old participants said they would be worried about riding in a driverless car, according to the survey.