Younger Drivers More Open to Self-Driving Cars

Artificial Intelligence is all the rage these days–especially because a lot of tasks are now being automated. Google has recently launched its self-driving cars, and other companies have followed suit.

Self-driving car technology will keep improving, that’s for sure.

But will consumers and drivers actually buy these self-driving cars when they arrive? Would drivers still be called ‘drivers’ when all you’d do is sit and let your car take you to your destination?

image credit: Ed and Eddie
image credit: Ed and Eddie

A recent study, conducted by JD Power, found that trust in self-driving cars is very much dependent on age–young people are more open to self-driving cars:

More than half of Gen Y (56%) and Gen Z (55%) vehicle owners say they trust self-driving technology, compared with 41% of Gen X, 23% of Baby Boomers and 18% of Pre-Boomers. Further, only 27% of Gen X, 18% of Gen Y and 11% of Gen Z  consumers say they “definitely would not” trust the technology, while 39% of Baby Boomers and 40% of Pre-Boomers say the same.
Gen Y and Gen Z vehicle owners are twice as likely as Gen X and five times as likely as Boomers and Pre-Boomers to show interest in certain alternative mobility types, such as mobility sharing/co-ownership, journey-based ownership and mobility on demand. Furthermore, the study finds that 59% of Gen Y vehicle owners say they are “definitely” or “probably” interested in fully automated vehicles and 32% of them would pay $3,000 or more for the technology. Among the four alternative mobility types, interest levels are highest among all generations for unmanned mobility.

This isn’t really surprising since most new technologies are embraced by young people while a lot of older folks tend to adapt to new technologies once it has become mainstream.

There are several questions worth raising, though.

One is the cost and availability of getting these self-driving cars. In the future, would these be expensive or affordable? Young people from a lot of cities also tend to be comfortable not owning a car, as long as they can move around through a good public transportation system, or by using apps like Uber and Lyft.

When these cars go mainstream, would there be a business model like Uber and Lyft, which will enable people to ride these kinds of cars without really owning them?

Secondly, how will manufacturers address issues of hacking, privacy, and inter-connectivity? As cars become connected to the Internet, reports of hacking are also on the rise. If a car is connected to your mobile phone and online accounts and it gets hacked, then it’s not just your identity that’s at risk but your physical safety, as well.

If you’re wondering how it feels like to ride a self-driving car, check out the video below:

When self-driving cars start rolling into the market, will you ride one?

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