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Will autonomous vehicles make us insane? Research discovers some consumers aren’t too keen on self-driving cars

According to an MIT study, public trust in full automation appears to be declining.

While the shift away from trust in automation was observed across all age groups, it was particularly noteworthy in the younger half of the age ranges.

This was the demographic that was most open to automation a year ago.

Younger respondents’ confidence appears to have shifted, becoming more cautious.

Although younger respondents are still somewhat more accepting of full automation than older respondents, the gap between older and younger adults’ perceptions of automation is closing in the direction away from the acceptance of automation.

The study says that, “The perception that self-driving cars need to work perfectly to be acceptable, combined with present and past experiences of low-risk technology failing both in and out of vehicles, may lead many consumers to believe the technology will never be good enough to trust with their lives.”

The difficulty here is that it remains an open question as to how safe a self-driving vehicle needs to be in order to become socially acceptable.

We can think of a few more annoyances that may drive users insane:

  • It’s gonna be a slow ride

Self-driving cars are made to obey the rules, you can bet that your car won't go faster than 30 kmh if that is the allocated speed limit.

Now speed rules are fundamentally important to a safe road, yet in some circumstances you need to go faster.

Imagine your car driving you and your wife who has gone into labour to the hospital at 45 kmh, nobody is going have a good day.

  • The ‘non-automated’ driver 

If you drive an automatic car, you’ve undoubtedly received flak from some one who drives only a manual car.

I can imagine this annoyance being amplified, as those without self-driving cars flaunt their superior control.

This also leads into another issue, if the majority of people are still driving manually operated cars, self-driving cars lose nearly all of their safety benefits.

  • The long road becomes even longer

No one likes being trapped in a car for six hours, but at least the driver has a lot to focus on to pass the time. 

Now those long road trips will become even longer as an entire family is crammed into a small space with nothing to do.

Better hope all autonomous cars come with Wi-Fi routers pre-installed.

Self-driving cars are fundamentally still an experimental piece of technology, undoubtedly many of the concerns voiced here will evaporate in 60 years.

Yet, at the moment it seems like autonomous cars might be the key to insanity for their occupants.

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