Consumer Electronics Show 2017 is here and as the trends go, driverless or self-driving cars will be garnering a lot of spotlight at the event. While technology enthusiasts around the world will be cheering for any progress made in this field, how do members of the general public feel about this technological advancement? Are they looking forward to it?
Kanetix.ca has released new survey findings of Canadians’ attitudes on the (not so) futuristic vehicles. The survey found that one in four (26 per cent) of Canadians said they couldn’t wait for the day when driverless cars would be reality, up slightly from last year when 25 per cent said the same. Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger demographic, age 18 to 34, are the most excited about driverless cars, with 36 per cent saying they can’t wait for the day.
However, over half of Canadians says they are neutral on the whole thing with 56 per cent saying it would depend on the technology and how well it works, compared to 52 per cent last year. Only 18 per cent said no thanks, they love driving too much, down from 23 per cent.
Even though auto manufacturers have been investing time, energy and money for technological innovations and advancement in the self-driving front, Canadians are still not optimistic about the jump to a total driverless regime but are more inclined towards improved safety features and, as a result, seem willing to slowly adopt more automated functions.
Indeed, the survey finds that 59 per cent of Canadians would buy or lease a car with improved self-driving safety features; features like front crash prevention, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot detection to name just a few. Some features could even help lower auto insurance premiums.
But while Canadians may not be entirely ready for a fully driverless experience, the overwhelming majority increasingly believe that autonomous cars will have a positive impact on our roads. Eighty-one per cent agree it will eliminate the threat of distracted driving, 73 per cent say it will reduce accidents and auto-related fatalities, and 68 per cent agree it will increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Less than half, however, feel that reduced traffic will be a benefit.
And when it comes to the overall driving experience, Quebecers are the most likely (71 per cent) to say driverless cars will bring an improvement, while only 55 per cent in Atlantic Canada agree. In any case, Canadians feel they have plenty of time before driverless cars will be available to the public; 80 per cent say it won’t happen for another 15 or more years.