This Could Be the Biggest Hurdle for Self-Driving Cars
Money + Markets

This Could Be the Biggest Hurdle for Self-Driving Cars

© Stephen Lam / Reuters

Nearly every large tech and auto company is investing heavily in autonomous vehicles, which some analysts see as the future of transportation.

While the technology required for such cars has improved to the point that several companies expect to have their vehicles on the market within the next few years, it’s less clear whether consumers will be ready for them.

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A new study from MIT finds that nearly half of consumers (48 percent) say they would never purchase a car that fully drives itself. Nearly 40 percent of those who said they wouldn’t make such a purchase cited loss of control as the primary factor. Other concerns included a lack of trust, safety worries and a belief that the technology would never work perfectly.

While younger drivers were more likely to consider self-driving cars, all age groups have showed a decline in the last year in willingness to purchase self-driving cars. That may reflect increased coverage of the research and tests around self-driving cars, which has included some high-profile crashes and other incidents in the past year. 

While consumers do not want fully autonomous cars, they have shown more interest in the many of the specific technologies they employ, such as braking assistance and lane-departure warnings. The first iterations of self-driving cars will likely include human overrides, along with a steering wheel and brake.