Cool Kids Don’t Want Self-Driving Cars

Automologist MAC gets insight into the automotive future from a source…at home.

My faith in humanity has been partially restored after a brief but insightful conversation with my ten-year-old son. It started with him asking if he could drive my car when he got old enough. An innocent enough question, I thought.

Now—and not withstanding the fact that when he was eight he had actually started my BMW and had driven it down the road a ways before I broke the land speed record to catch him and stop the vehicle—I of course replied him that by the time he got to driving age, cars would drive themselves.

Now, kids these days are into a lot of cool stuff, like PS4 and mobile apps and electric scooters, dabbing or flossing and even memes (whatever they are). But missing from that list is self-driving cars. My son’s “No dad, I want to learn to drive like you” it turns out is more typical than you would have probably thought, according to a poll carried out by State Farm Insurance.

Google’s early self-driving test car. It is ugly and I don’t want it!


But have they figured out how to stop autonomous cars from KILLING squirrels?!


 

It turns out that in a poll of US teenagers who are still reliant on the moms driving them to football practice or out on a date, 56% would pass on the idea of an autonomous vehicle. Now, I know that the respondents in the survey were all members of SADD (students against destructive behaviour) and possibly less likely to engage in risky behaviour, but another broader survey that actually included cool kids found that only 30 to 40% of teenagers would definitely ride in an autonomous vehicle. That means 70% would not get into an autonomous car!

The main problem came with the perceived lack of safety, or was that control. It seems people want to be in control, even if statistically it is unsafe when they are. The world is hurtling at some speed towards the introduction of autonomous cars, but it would seem that the tide of public opinion is still not sold on the idea. What this means is that there needs to be more effort in convincing passengers that their lives are in good hands, and perhaps on motion sickness research.

In the meantime, I am just proud that my petrolhead DNA will live on in my son.

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