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While electric and hybrid vehicles have been all the rage recently, fully autonomous cars have seemingly taken a backseat in the popularity contest. Of course, the thought of getting into a car that drives itself can be downright nerve-wracking as is the thought of sharing the road with a driver-less car. However, Car Gurus recently conducted a survey and revealed that many consumers are excited about autonomous cars and even one day hope to own one.

The public has warmed up to autonomous vehicles over time

A white Chevy Bolt-now driverless
A Cruise autonomous vehicle | Stephen Brashear for Cruise

CarGurus recently surveyed 1,247 automobile owners all over the U.S to gauge their interest in autonomous vehicles (AVs) and driver-assist features. Interestingly, the survey revealed that many people are getting more excited about AVs, but they still feel more comfortable piloting their own cars.

According to the study, 33% of the participants said that they are “excited” about the development of AVs – up from 21% just three years ago – while 31% of them are “still concerned.” Apparently, we’re still at a day and age where the thought of giving up driving controls is a little taboo, as is the thought of sharing the roads with driver-less trucks and fleet vehicles. However, the public’s comfort level could change over time.

May consumers expect to own an autonomous vehicle in the next decade

The interior of a Tesla Model 3.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

Despite any current apprehension when it comes to AVs, many consumers think they might actually own one in the next decade. The CarGurus survey showed that 18% of the participants surveyed said they can see themselves owning an AV in the next five years and 34% said that 10 years seems more fitting.

But for every “yes” there’s always a “no.” Many of those surveyed were excited about the fact that autonomous vehicles are a huge leap in technology, but even more of them were concerned about relying on them for safety. Additionally, 31% of the participants don’t think that the technology is ready yet, while 43% are worried about who will be responsible in the case that something goes wrong with the car. Hopefully, all of those bugs and caveats will be worked out in the coming years.

The public still sees various benefits when it comes to AVs

An Uber sticker on a white car on August 20, 2020, in Los Angeles, California
Uber sticker on a car | Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Whether or not the public has its arms wide open when it comes to completely adopting AVs as primary modes of transportation is key. But what’s as equally important is how the public imagines using these autonomous vehicles. The CarGurus study showed that 56% of those surveyed were most excited about the car being to drive them home safely when they’re unable to, followed by the ability for the car to park itself.

When it comes to automakers, most of the participants said they would trust Tesla to build autonomous vehicles, however, nearly 20% of them said they wouldn’t trust anyone. Surprisingly, 8% of them said they would trust Apple to build AVs, despite the fact that the computer company has yet to make an automobile.

Ultimately, the public’s current distrust when it comes to autonomous vehicles mostly stems from the thought of the technology being “too new.” We can definitely understand that, but we wouldn’t be too surprised if the popularity of AVs starts to pick up in the coming years.


Why You Shouldn’t Expect Autonomous Vehicles Any Time Soon