State Farm, Bloomberg Government Publish Survey on Autonomous Vehicles

State Farm Insurance and Bloomberg Government have released the results of a survey
designed to gauge public attitudes about driverless cars.

In September, State Farm worked with Bloomberg Government to measure the public’s perceptions of autonomous vehicles, and the results were presented November 15 at Bloomberg’s Next Tech event in Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg Government conducted the survey on behalf of State Farm to:

  • Establish a better understanding of the general public’s attitudes and expectations around the acceptance of automated vehicle technologies;
  • Gain a better understanding of the public’s impressions of these technologies and the knowledge gaps that may exist around their use;
  • And focus on how this new technology will impact consumer behavior, with a spotlight on safety.

Some of the key findings of the survey included:

Between 30-40 percent of respondents said they would definitely consider riding in a vehicle with autonomous/self-driving capabilities if:

  • The vehicle was in an area with few or no other vehicles;
  • The vehicle was in a low-speed area;
  • And, if the rides were short, i.e., under 10 minutes.

The survey also found that while some are willing to try, most are not completely at ease with the concept. For example:

  • Less than 20 percent of respondents said they would definitely consider riding in an autonomous vehicle in heavily congested or high speed areas (65 mph+).
  • Respondents said they would be most comfortable with autonomous/self-driving vehicles that they own or lease.
  • There is less comfort with autonomous/self-driving buses, shuttles, taxis or ride sharing services (Uber, Lyft, etc.) compared to other autonomous/self-driving vehicles.
  • Autonomous vehicles are not yet considered a solution for those unable to drive.
  • This is particularly true of those too young to drive – only 14 percent of respondents were very comfortable with sending younger (non-drivers) in an autonomous vehicle.

However, respondents considered it slightly more acceptable to have the physically disabled or the elderly travel in this manner.

Over half of those surveyed were very concerned about the possibility of dangerous outcomes due to autonomous/self-driving vehicles, such as:

  • Computer system malfunctions, especially if they cause the vehicle to crash;
  • The potential for hacking and/or taking over the vehicle;
  • And, sensors not operating optimally in certain weather conditions or at night.

However, only about a third believe these dangerous outcomes are very likely to occur.

The survey found there are a number of potential benefits that make autonomous vehicles attractive to respondents, including the possibility of:

  • Lower accident rates;
  • Lower insurance rates;
  • Being able to travel while drowsy;
  • And, reduced traffic congestion.

Those most predisposed toward autonomous vehicles tend to be males under 40 who have a college degree. The amount of time an individual spends in a vehicle is also positively related to interest. However, those that are rarely passengers are less interested in trying an autonomous vehicle.

Read the full survey report from Bloomberg here.

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