Women are More Skeptical than Men about Driverless Cars

July 27, 2015

According to data gathered by NerdWallet, vehicle manufacturers will have to worry more about impressing women than men if they want to make driverless cars more common. In addition to highlighting the differences in opinion between men and women, their findings showed disparity in opinions of driverless cars between older and younger Americans.

NerdWallet's findings showed that slightly more than 35 percent of women expressed interest in purchasing a self-driving vehicle. However, 50 percent of men expressed interest in owning a driverless car. More than 50 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 said that they were very interested or somewhat interested in the idea of owning a self-driving vehicle. From the age group of adults who were 30 years of age or older, only about 40 percent said that they would be interested in one of these futuristic vehicles.

Most of the women who were interviewed said that they had concerns about safety. About 55 percent of the women said that being unsure of safety was the biggest drawback in buying a self-driving car. Less than 40 percent of the men surveyed were concerned about safety with these cars. Nearly 45 percent of men said that they were worried about driverless cars making the driving experience more boring. However, slightly less than 25 percent of women agreed with that idea. Researchers said that consumers have limited trust when it comes to vehicles that move automatically. When researchers asked the survey participants if they would put a child in a driverless car alone, less than 10 percent said that they would do that.

Although America's drivers are not yet ready to welcome driverless vehicles to the roads, NerdWallet found that they are very interested in the safety technologies that will lead the way for self-driving vehicles. One of the most popular technologies noted was blind spot detection. More than 40 percent of respondents said that it was one of the most appealing safety features. Another 30 percent said that emergency self-braking was another favorable safety feature.

Self-driving vehicles use sensors, cameras and GPS systems to navigate the roads. The sensors and cameras tell the vehicle when it is approaching objects in the road or other vehicles while going forward or backing up. The GPS system shows the vehicle where it is located and helps it map a route correctly. While many Americans are still skeptical about the concept of these vehicles, the self-driving cars have already arrived and are here to stay. Google recently released a self-driving car as a test vehicle to drive in Mountain View, California. The company has actually been testing driverless vehicles for more than six years. During that time, they said that the vehicles have only been involved in 11 accidents and were not to blame in any of them. Most accidents involved the vehicles being rear-ended.

One self-driving Audi completed a trip recently from one coast to the other in just nine days. During that time, it was in automatic driving mode for nearly 100 percent of the time. The test was conducted by Delphi Automotive. Tesla's CEO also announced an upgrade in software for some electric vehicles. While it would have the capability for full autopilot features, it will not be fully enabled at first.

Overall, the top concerns people of all ages expressed were safety and cost. Most people were not willing to invest more in a vehicle for an inflated price tag even if it offered automated driving. The lack of trust in driverless technology and even some modern safety features adds to drivers' disinterest in self-driving cars. Experts expect to see opinions change as safety features progress and automation continues improving through testing. To learn more about how driverless technology may affect insurance, discuss concerns with an agent.

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