Autonomous cars are coming – it's just a matter of when and how quickly they will be adapted by buyers. To help find the answer to the latter, CarInsurance.com polled 2,000 licensed drivers, which returned some very interesting results regarding self-driving cars.

Perhaps the most interesting statistic pulled from the study is that one in five drivers (20 percent) are willing to completely give up driving if autonomous cars were currently available. Since a self-driving car is also expected to operate in a safer manner compared to humans (especially those distracted, aggressive or drunk), car insurance rates could also drop when these cars hit the market, and 33 percent of those in the study said they would buy an autonomous car if rates dropped by 80 percent – a rate reduction that had 90 percent of respondents "very likely" to consider such technology.

Digging a little deeper, the study found that just over half of those polled put more trust in autonomous vehicles designed by automakers (as opposed to communications or software companies), but the majority still had reservations about cars that are able to drive themselves. Three-quarters said that they can drive better than a computer and that they wouldn't trust an autonomous car to take their kids to school, and almost two-thirds said that computers don't have the decision-making skills of humans.

So, what would passengers of autonomous cars do with all their free time in the car? According to the survey, about two percent would "hold on for dear life." What about you? Scroll down below for the official press release, and then take part in our informal survey below.

Show full PR text
Driverless cars study: 1 in 5 would let computers do the driving

Nov. 4, 2013 (Foster City, CA) -- A new CarInsurance.com survey finds that one in five Americans would never take the wheel again if a self-driving, or autonomous, car were available.

While 20 percent of the 2,000 licensed drivers surveyed said they would gladly turn over the keys, interest in autonomous vehicles soared when the prospect of dramatically reduced insurance costs was introduced. More than a third of those surveyed said an 80 percent discount on car insurance rates would make purchase of an autonomous vehicle "very likely," and 90 percent of drivers said they would at least consider the idea.

Cars that park themselves, navigate stop-and-go-traffic or avert an impending collision are already on U.S. roads today. Nissan has promised to deliver a fully autonomous vehicle -- one that allows a computer to assume control under the right conditions -- to showrooms by 2020. A fully automated vehicle that doesn't need a human operator could someday follow.

"Our survey shows cheaper insurance will greatly influence consumer acceptance," said CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups. "Some of the liability of operating a car will doubtless be assumed by the manufacturer," Toups said. "But a lot of the decrease in rates could come simply because there would be many fewer accidents."

Trust will be a big hurdle, the survey results show:

64 percent said computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making that human drivers exhibit.
75 percent of respondents said they can drive a car better than a computer could.
75 percent said they would not trust a driverless car to take their children to school.

The survey also asked consumers which companies they would trust most to deliver driverless-car technology.

Communications company such as Sprint or Verizon: 1 percent
Consumer products company such as Apple or Samsung: 12 percent
Software company such as Google or Microsoft: 15 percent
Start-up automaker such as Tesla: 18 percent
Traditional automaker such as Honda, Ford or Toyota: 54 percent

Asked what they would do with their additional free time, drivers responded:

Text/talk with friends: 26 percent
Other: 21 percent
Read: 21 percent
Sleep: 10 percent
Watch movies: 8 percent
Play games: 7 percent
Work: 7 percent

The "Other" category included two significant write-ins. More than 10 percent of respondents wrote in some variation of "enjoy the scenery" and 9 percent wrote in "watch the road," "hold on for dear life" or something similar.

See the full article at http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/autonomous-cars-ready.aspx.
Methodology

CarInsurance.com commissioned an online-panel survey of 2,000 licensed drivers. The survey was fielded in September 2013.
About CarInsurance.com

CarInsurance.com has been offering drivers expert advice about car insurance and how to shop for it since 2003. Using a combination of industry expertise and information drawn from thousands of online quotes delivered without obligation each month, CarInsurance.com is a source for unbiased answers and data about what consumers should expect from an insurance policy. The site lets consumers compare multiple car insurance quotes online and purchase a policy online in minutes. CarInsurance.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

Twitter: @CarInsurance


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 111 Comments
      John Ward
      • 1 Year Ago
      This poll sucks. I'd buy one to commute to work in but still have another car I could drive. Where is that option?
        DKano
        • 1 Year Ago
        @John Ward
        I agree, that's the option I was looking for. Or even yet, a car I can drive and also have the autonomous option (for when there's heavy traffic).
      CaptainAmerica
      • 1 Year Ago
      if you live in a small town where you don't have to get in a stop and go commute for 18 miles then you're gonna say "no" to this poll bc you like driving and your control but when you drive in a big city say 5 million or more people have are constantly in bumper to bumper commutes you're gonna say "yes" bc then it frees you up to relax more on your commute.
      AnalogJesse
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good. Leave the manual driving to the people who are engaged when they do so.
      Simon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems pretty obvious that this technology will be like cruise control, in that you will be able to switch it off and on as and when you want it. I struggle to see who would object to that. It would be superb for the elderly, disabled and other folks who can't drive (such as kids, simply send them to school in the car) Other things to think about. If you can do it for cars, then obviously you could do it for trucks to. Shopping malls and public spaces generally could be totally redesigned to be much more people friendly. No more acres of tarmac for the cars. All cars could simply drop you off outside the front door of the location, then go off to a parking garage and park themselves. You simply signal the car to come and pick you up. The daily commute, which continues to get worse everywhere would be less hideous and much safer. I find it funny. This you're infringing my rights nonsense. Do stick shifts, air conditioning, cruise control, license plates and all the other stuff that goes with driving infringe on them? Well of course not. And the way that empowering parts of the populous that presently aren't able to benefit from the freedom of driving seems such a powerful thing. One could argue that NOT having self driving cars is infringing on their constitutional rights.
      Drew
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a lousy survey. I would like to drive for pleasure, would like to be driven to work, but there is no such option.
      rmo964
      • 1 Year Ago
      If these autonomous cars only use the left lane for passing I'm all for it.
      Kuro Houou
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would definitely want one yes, but saying I would never drive again.. seems pretty unlikely. For many driving is fun and to give it up 100% wouldn't be likely.
      Brutus
      • 1 Year Ago
      Three reasons why driverless cars will be the greatest innovation of the last one hundred years, and one disadvantage: 1. Cherchez l'argent -- High insurance rates for dumb vehicles, especially as the pool of "drivered" vehicles shrinks, will make it prohibitively expensive to drive a dumb car. 2. 40,000 deaths on the roads every year in the U.S., or one Twin Towers/9-11 per month (with time off for Christmas and Thanksgiving), will probably be reduced to less than 1000 deaths. 3.See NYT article "Is it OK to kill cyclists?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/opinion/sunday/is-it-ok-to-kill-cyclists.html?src=me&ref=general) -- where is the outrage? As deaths plummet, the manual drive models will be seen as the deadly machines that they are. 4. Only one down side -- Fewer brain dead drivers will dry up the supply of human spare parts. (No kidding, that's where the healthy hearts come from). Look to China to grow its already booming body part industry. When death by automobile rate a newspaper headline, you'll know that the golden age has dawned.
      Luc K
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn't that already exists? It's called public transportation... So maybe a case to offer more of that.
      Wm
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would seriously love to have an autonomous car, but I still would like to drive sometimes. This survey leads people into either being for or against autonomous cars. Not a very good survey. I believe I would travel more if I could nap while traveling. I dislike flying because of the hassle and lack of comfort. I find that even inexpensive cars have levels of comfort that often exceed 1st class seats. Besides, flying usually makes me go places I didn't won't to go just to get where I wanted to go, or I need a rental car to get the last hundred miles or so. I've seen where a 9 hour drive would have taken 8 to fly because they wanted to send me over twice as far and had a sizable lay over, and that didn't count travel time to and from the airport and the 90 minutes they recommend you be there prior to your flight.
      flammablewater
      • 1 Year Ago
      You need an option for "would not drive if I felt like taking a nap or eating a sandwich, but otherwise I'd drive"
      edward.stallings
      • 1 Year Ago
      One good use for this would be to tun errands for you while you do something else. These will increase productivity. I love driving, but technology is our friend (usually-ha).
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