Driverless car technology has been one of the most anticipated disruptions of a major global industry. Beginning with Google in 2010, the field has expanded to include other tech companies and auto manufacturers, including Uber, Lyft, Tesla, and General Motors.

With so many companies jostling to be among the first to integrate artificial intelligence into the world’s billion-plus automobiles, the speed with which the wider industry is expected to adopt these cutting edge technologies is impressive. By 2021, sales of connected car technologies are predicted to triple to almost $180 billion.

It is not difficult to see why the driverless car industry shows such promise. The anticipated benefits of the technology are numerous, including fewer road accidents, reduced congestion, cheaper public transportation, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Other, less immediately obvious side-effects might include improved housing affordability as commute times come down, as well as increased productivity as individuals become capable of performing other tasks in-transit instead of driving.

But as this technology edges ever-closer to market, the social side of driverless vehicles remains a complex quandary, as this infographic from Cheap Car Insurance demonstrates.

A visualisation of survey data gathered from 2,000 respondents in the US, the infographic covers a range of consumer sentiments towards driverless vehicles, particularly around the issues of safety, liability, and accident avoidance. Observations include:

  • More than 50% of respondents were excited (but with some reservations) about the advances in artificial intelligence.
  • Almost 55% of respondents agreed that driverless cars should minimise the road death toll.
  • Nearly 20% of respondents thought AI could be trusted more than human intelligence, while 37% were unsure.
  • The majority of respondents were either ‘mildly uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable’ with letting a car’s AI make decisions on behalf of the driver.
  • In the event of a road accident, an overwhelming 73% of respondents deemed the car manufacturer responsible.

 

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