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Americans hit the brakes on self-driving cars

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Staff Writer | February 21, 2018
By some estimates, 10 million self-driving vehicles will be on the road worldwide by 2020, however, Americans are currently skeptical of using the technology.
self-driving cars
Auto industry   Americans are currently skeptical
More than half of the U.S. public (54%) says it is not likely to use the vehicles.

These data come from a Northeastern University/Gallup survey of Americans' attitudes toward artificial intelligence (AI) and its effect on their lives and work. The mail survey of 3,297 U.S. adults was conducted Sept. 15-Oct. 10, 2017.

Technology companies, automobile manufacturers and universities are all researching ways to develop cars that can drive themselves, using navigation software and elements of artificial intelligence to get people or goods to places they need to go.

Testing is ongoing to ensure that self-driving cars can share the road safely with other vehicles, including those driven by people and other self-driving cars.

Although the majority of Americans have doubts about using self-driving cars, some are more ready to let technology take the wheel. The likelihood of a college graduate saying they are likely to use a self-driving car is twice as high as those without a college degree, 38% vs. 19%, respectively.

Additionally, the youngest American adults, those aged 18 to 35, are the most likely age group to say they would use self-driving cars, with 36% saying they are likely to do so. Likelihood to use the technology declines to 29% among those aged 36 to 50, 19% among those 51 to 65 and 12% for those 66 years of age or older.

Americans are largely uncomfortable with the idea of riding in a self-driving car on a daily basis, as 59% rate their discomfort with this fairly high on a five-point scale.

Less than a quarter (23%) place themselves at the other end of the scale, indicating they would be comfortable or extremely comfortable riding in such a car.