Many automakers have set sights on development of autonomous cars with advancements in technology and emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). Founders and top executives have been convincing investors to pour money into development of self-driving cars and put their foot into the competitive environment. Investors have been granting their wishes and pouring billions into new projects. Some of the automobile companies have announced their plans, while some have begun testing of cars on public roads. Every company has been lining up become the forefront into the market with lot of potential in the future. Major automakers have announced their plans in the U.S. to develop autonomous vehicles and launch on public roads by next few years. The era of innovation and technology is one of the favorable environments to realize their visions.
However, the major challenge for those companies does not lie in development of one of the finest self-driving car, but in convincing people to trust their autonomous cars. According to the recent research by Reuters and Ipsos, two-third of the U.S. citizens are not inclined to ride in autonomous cars. This poll raises concerns for automakers which poured in billions in development of self-driving vehicles and conducting tests on public roads. Only 27 percent respondents outlined that they were comfortable to ride in autonomous cars. This indicated that people are more inclined to trust humans as compared to robots and AI.
Many leading tech giants and automakers have announced their plans, highlighting safety will be the prime factor while developing autonomous cars. General Motors Co. announced its plan to launch fleets of autonomous cars by 2019 in late November last year. The company considered electric and autonomous cars a crucial part of its future. Other auto manufacturers and rivals such as Google-owned Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc. have been progressing in the self-driving car industry. They have been striving to get the first-mover advantage. Waymo CEO John Krafcik outlined that the company would launch the autonomous car for ride-hailing service. The firm conducted its first of the kind test in Arizona in which an autonomous car was tested on public roads without a human driver behind the wheel. Uber has been testing robo-taxis and plans to launch soon. Though it has not stated when its ride-hailing service will begin, its successful testing would be significant to grow people’s trust in autonomous cars.
The Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, which was conducted in mid-January and gathered responses of 2,592 adults, found surprising difference of opinions based on gender and age. Men were more comfortable about using autonomous cars than women. Furthermore, millennials were more inclined to ride as compared to baby boomers. The poll found that 38 percent of men said they were comfortable in riding in self-driving cars, while 55 said they were not comfortable. On the other hand, 16 percent women notified they were ready to ride, while 77 percent women said no to autonomous cars.
One of the reasons for lack of inclination toward self-driving cars maybe failure during testing. Keolis, the French autonomous vehicle manifesting company tested its car on public roads in January 2017. Then it was launched for public roads in November. It crashed into the truck on its first day of its operation. Though the accident took place due to mistake of truck driver, the incident gave company the time to ponder on changes in design and operation. Other polls conducted to determine interest of the U.S. citizens about autonomous cars also revealed lack of inclination of majority of citizens.