Consumers are Excited About Driverless Cars and Their Many Benefits, says CTA Study

The vast majority of consumers (three in four) are excited about the many benefits driverless vehicles can offer, and almost two-thirds want to swap their current cars for completely self-driving vehicles – a direct contrast to other surveys that indicate consumer hesitancy toward the adoption of self-driving cars – according to research released today from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™.

The report Self-Driving Vehicles: Consumer Sentiments also finds almost all drivers (93 percent) who use existing driver-assist features such as parking assist, adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance appreciate the usefulness of these driving technology innovations.

“Clearly, drivers are getting more and more excited about everything that driverless cars will offer us – 90 percent fewer U.S. traffic accidents, 40 percent lower insurance costs, the end of drunk driving accidents and newfound freedom for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “The broad adoption of self-driving vehicles will save tens of thousands of lives each year in the U.S. alone, and deliver a level of independence and mobility that seniors and people with disabilities couldn’t otherwise dream of enjoying.”

According to the CTA research, the popularity of driver-assist technology already available to consumers is sky-high. Almost all consumers (96 percent) like or love automatic parking-assist capabilities, and 94 percent feel the same about collision avoidance systems. Perhaps most indicative of this sector’s potential, half of all non-users want to upgrade to driver-assist technologies. Additionally, data alert systems enjoy immense consumer support – 97 percent of consumers are satisfied with their navigation assistance technology, and 94 percent like or love car maintenance alerts.

“We don’t have to wait for the benefits of self-driving cars to arrive – driver-assist technology is already saving lives, avoiding accidents and paving the way for completely driverless innovations still to come,” said Shapiro. “We should promote these technologies that help drowsy or inattentive drivers stay focused, or provide specific responses such as automatic braking and lane-drift avoidance – all of which are now widely available in newer model vehicles.”

The CTA study also shows four in five consumers recognize the potential benefits driverless technology can offer. Consumers are most excited about self-driving technology’s ability to:

Reduce accidents caused by aggressive driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (82 percent)

Provide monetary savings on car insurance (80 percent)

Prevent up to 90 percent of driving-related accidents and injuries on U.S. roads (79 percent)

Offer new mobility options to people with disabilities (78 percent)

In addition to the 62 percent of consumers who are interested in replacing their current cars or trucks with completely self-driving vehicles, CTA research finds 70 percent of consumers have a strong interest in testing a driverless car for themselves. This enthusiasm indicates a much higher level of consumer interest in driverless innovation than previous studies. A University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study in May said about two-thirds of drivers were concerned about riding in completely self-driving vehicles, and a recent Kelley Blue Book poll said 51 percent of drivers want to have full control of their vehicles even if self-driving cars make our roads safer.

“Consumer interest in the early stages of this rapidly emerging technology shows great optimism for our driverless future,” underscored Shapiro. “Generally, consumers become more comfortable with innovations as the benefits become more apparent, erasing their initial concerns. If you asked Americans back in the early 1900s their opinions about daily transportation needs, they’d have said they wanted faster horses that ate less food! That’s why our research is so encouraging for driverless technology.”

“Our study confirms enthusiasm for self-driving cars is certainly growing – consumers want to see for themselves just what these driverless innovations have to offer,” said Brian Markwalter, senior vice president, research and standards, CTA. “And the driver-assistance features already on the market may be sparking the excitement, as more drivers experience the safety and convenience these new features provide.”

Self-Driving Vehicles: Consumer Sentiments was designed and formulated by CTA, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry. CTA fielded the survey in July, 2016 using an online sample of 2,001 U.S. adults 18-years-of-age and older who drove a car or truck in the past month, achieving a margin of error of plus/minus 2.6 percent.

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