(Reuters) – Half of U.S. adults think automated vehicles are more dangerous than traditional vehicles operated by people, while nearly two-thirds said they would not buy a fully autonomous vehicle, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.
In the same poll, about 63 percent of those who responded said they would not pay more to have a self-driving feature on their vehicle, and 41 percent of the rest said they would not pay more than $2,000.
The poll results outline the challenges that face car and truck makers, delivery companies, technology companies and ride services operators such as Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc. All are plowing capital into developing self-driving vehicles and related hardware. Developers of the technology are making progress, but polls indicate the industry’s efforts to build public trust and commercial demand lag behind.
The findings are similar to those in a 2018 Reuters/Ipsos poll. They are consistent with results in surveys by Pew Research Center, the American Automobile Association and others. In March 2018, after the 2018 Reuters/Ipsos poll, an Uber vehicle operating in self-driving mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
Relatively few U.S. residents have seen or ridden in a self-driving vehicle, and experts said suspicion of unknown technology can give way to acceptance once it becomes more familiar.
“People are comfortable with things they know,” said investor Chris Thomas, co-founder of Fontinalis Partners and Detroit Mobility Lab. “When everybody understands the game-changing attributes of automated vehicles, how they can give you back all that time to read or work or sleep, they will start to ask about the value of that recaptured time.”
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