Elon Musk and other tech industry entrepreneurs believe self-driving cars will eliminate conventional cars, but most Americans are wary. A new survey conducted by insurance platform Policygenius found that three-quarters of Americans feel unsafe driving or riding in a car with self-driving capabilities. Similarly, 73 percent of respondents felt unsafe when they learned that someone else was driving a self-driving car, according to Policygenius, which surveyed about 1,500 U.S. residents over the age of 18.
Elon Musk has been pushing for self-driving
“Whether it’s because of road rage, reckless driving or car accidents, many people are understandably reluctant to take their eyes off the road and rely on self-driving cars,” said Rachael Brennan, a licensed property and casualty insurance specialist at Policygenius. “As self-driving car technology continues to advance, auto companies and insurers will need to address a range of challenges, from helping people feel safe on the road to dealing with new insurance implications, such as who is liable in a self-driving car accident.”
Three-quarters of Americans Think Autonomous Driving is Unsafe
Major automakers such as Ford, General Motors and Tesla are now betting heavily on autonomous driving. Last year, Ford said it plans to spend $7 billion on self-driving technology, while GM plans to spend $2 billion on its self-driving service Cruise this year alone. By contrast, Elon Musk has made Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) features a hallmark of Tesla. He has repeatedly said that Tesla will release a fully self-driving car to the public, but the launch has been pushed back time and time again. Tesla currently offers FSD as an add-on service for $15,000, or a monthly subscription fee of $199, but the feature is still in beta mode and still requires a licensed driver to monitor the vehicle.
Self-driving technology has dominated the media headlines several times over the past few years, but it hasn’t always been positive news. In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had opened an investigation into dozens of Tesla crashes that occurred while Autopilot was enabled using the automated assisted driving feature. Tesla owners and Waymo passengers also regularly post videos of Autopilot vulnerabilities on social media.