Study Shows Just 11 Percent Of Drivers Want Autonomous Driving Technology

Automakers and tech titans are developing autonomous driving technology, but it appears the vast majority of consumers couldn’t care less.

While previous studies have shown drivers are wary about the technology, a new report paints an even bleaker picture. According to Consumer Reports’ latest car safety survey, just 11 percent of drivers – who are looking to purchase a new or used vehicle in the next two years – want a model equipped with autonomous driving technology.

While semi-autonomous driving systems promise to improve safety, it appears consumers prefer older technologies such as rearview cameras, backup sensors and blind spot warning systems. In particular, 51 percent of respondents said it was important that their next vehicle have a rearview camera or a backup warning system. Blind spot warning systems weren’t far behind as 45 percent of people considered them important.

It goes without saying, all three systems offer safety benefits and blind spot warning systems help to reduce stress levels while traveling on busy highways. Given that, it seems surprising most consumers aren’t more excited about the technology especially now that it trickled down to mainstream vehicles.



As Consumer Reports notes, data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests blind spot warning systems can reduce accidents by 14 percent. Likewise, rearview cameras can lower the number of crashes by 17 percent.

These systems weren’t the only ones that were surprisingly unpopular with consumers as just 28 percent of people considered an adaptive cruise control system to be important. Likewise, only 21 percent felt lane-keep assist systems were important.

There are likely a number of reasons consumers why aren’t excited about the safety features and the report mentions several possible factors.  These include false warnings, a dislike of vehicles intervening in the driving process and a lack of trust in new technologies. Another possible explanation is that the respondents aren’t familiar with the technologies or haven’t experienced their benefits first hand.


  • Six_Tymes

    oh come on, no way this study is correct. then again, people are afraid of change, even if its something better than what they currently have.

    • Doodez

      Im surprised the number is as high as 11%. Im calling bs!!!!

    • assassingtr

      Definitely a case of people being afraid of change. Holy hell I can already imagine driving through some of those long ass farm roads in Montana. Auto Pilot would be so helpful.

  • ace_9

    Nice research and even nicer “explanations” at the end. It is not often that I can see such stupidity nicely taken to the final results. The most obvious flaw in this study, that everyone seems to ignore, is the price of cars that offer these kind of technologies. Maybe if someone started to use their brain, he would realize that really only about 20% of people buying new cars are in such price range. And how much from that cares about autonomous systems, considering many people stretching out their car budget are buying the car to enjoy it? Maybe 50% ? And that gives us the total of around 10%. Wonderful research…

  • eb110americana

    I know I am in the minority, as I prefer things like manual transmissions and RWD, but just the same…

    DO WANT:
    -Adaptive cruise
    -Fully autonomous driving and parking with summon (once it is 100% hands off without disclaimer)
    -Rear cross-traffic alert
    -Virtual bird’s eye camera

    -Lane warning or lane assist
    -Audible blind spot warning
    -Front/rear collision warning
    -Overspeed warning

    For every single one on that second list, it’s because I have driven multiple cars that are constantly chiming and flashing lights at you even when you have not run afoul of any of the sensors. And when they aren’t making false warnings, they are warning you that the car behind you stopped too close, or something else you have no control over. The worst part is that to get adaptive cruise, you are pretty much forced to pay for most items in the second category. I would actually pay extra just to keep that distracting nonsense out of my car.

  • robotlogic

    And those 11% are the ones 89% of us want off the road!

  • TheBelltower

    When it comes to new technology, that sounds about right. People poo-poo’d the automobile when they were first launched, replacing horse-and-buggies. I remember when the iPad was launched. There were all sorts of studies saying how low the “yes” percentage was. Like anything, it will become ubiquitous once it is shown to work. And then it will replace commercial drivers, who are scared $h!tless that this is coming.

    • Doodez

      I think you’re wrong.

      • TheBelltower


        • Status

          The ipad, particularly. It still is worthless, even the ‘pro’ models are incapable of ‘pro’ work.

      • assassingtr

        He’s not wrong that much of new tech is criticized and doesn’t get a fair shot because of fear of change. That’s very common in history. The Ipad wasn’t the greatest reference but how about the iphone? Everyone saw it and thought “Why the hell would I need all that shit in my phone?” Lol oh how wrong they were.

    • Craig

      Scared shitless about being out of a JOB! What fools! [I say sarcastically]

  • brn

    Attention grabbing headline. They surveyed Consumer Reports readers who are buying a car in the next year or two. 11% of those buying a car in that short of a time frame is a pretty big number.

    It doesn’t mean that only 11% are ever interested. It’s just those that are interested in what’s available on the market today.

    Sensationalist garbage.

  • LJ

    For an automotive enthusiast site, there sure are a lot of you that seem to dislike driving.

    • Craig

      I was thinking the same thing. Some of these ‘enthusiasts’ can’t WAIT to stop driving!

    • Status

      Who says that you have to dislike driving if you’re in favour of autonomous cars? Cars are a means to an end, not a play toy.

      • LJ

        They’re both, to the automotive enthusiast.

      • assassingtr

        There’s a stigma with some people that you can’t be a car enthusiast and like driving an autonomous car. Personally having both an autonomous commuter car and a weekend car for me sounds like a perfect combo.

    • assassingtr

      Lol I love driving. However i’d love to know if you also think sitting in bumper to bumper Los Angeles traffic is driving? I mean it would be great if my commute to work could look like this Swiss Alps or something. Then i’d love it!

      • LJ

        I don’t live in Los Angeles.

        • assassingtr

          Congratulations. I didn’t ask if you did.

          • LJ

            You ask my opinion about their traffic.

          • assassingtr

            “However i’d love to know if you also think sitting in bumper to bumper Los Angeles traffic is driving?”

            I’m not sure how that translated to “Hey do you live in Los Angeles?” for you. I’ll be more concise and accurate in my question then.

            Do you consider “driving” bumper to bumper traffic? And would you consider that fun?

            I only say this because there is a place for taking a 911 on a canyon road and there is a place for sitting in autopilot in traffic. Driving auto pilot doesn’t mean you dislike driving.

          • LJ

            I don’t drive in bumper to bumper traffic.

  • Paul

    It’s Consumer Reborts, go figure.

  • Vern Suesse

    I have no use for an autonomous car. I know how to drive. Unless you’re really into the infotainment system (sheesh), then you may want one. Otherwise drive and listen to the beautiful sounds coming from your engine.

    • brn

      At some point in my life, driving will be difficult. When that time comes, I look forward to the freedom that an autonomous car will bring.

      • Vern Suesse

        Understood. But when I get to that point, I’ll take Lyft and save my money from buying a new car. I won’t be able to afford one by then anyway.

        • brn

          I’m on board with that. Where I live, Lyft is great. If I go back to my hometown, Lyft (and the other one), barely exist. Wait times are measured in hours. By the time I get to that point, Lyft may be autonomous anyway.

          I like having my own vehicle for trips as well. Lyft is good for around town, but not so good for going to visit someone two states away. The bus sucks.

  • Big Black Duck

    11% might want the…but 99% need them..

  • LeStori

    OK so only 11% want it because virtually no one seems to understand like what truly autonomous car will bring to their life. . Get in your automomous car and it drives you to work. It then returns home and picks up the kids and takes them to school. Home again for who ever needs it. Picks up the kids from after school. Off to work to pick you up. Yes you really do not want an autonomous car.

    Then there are the other horrible consequences of owning a truly autonomous car. A car you not in control. Crack open a beer, have a glass wine, watch TV , play a computer game. Yes you really do not need it….

    Better to sit is a train with the stinking masses. Order and wait for a hire car. Sit behind the wheel in atraffic jam. Now that is the good life!

    • Kagan

      Don’t drive, we want to drive.

      • assassingtr

        You can still drive Kagan. No one is stopping you. Or cares to do so.

        • Kagan

          They are, every day a bit more and they steel from you!

          • assassingtr

            LOL I don’t even know how to go with this. Fantastic.

          • Kagan


  • Craig

    It’s interesting how some of you interpreted a lack of interest in something as a FEAR of that something.

  • Sébastien

    …but 100% of non drivers want it!

  • Kagan

    I don’t want it, not anything. Not even adaptive cruiscontrol or auto headligths. It is enough with cruise control , abs and esp. I even don’t want entertainment it is enough with radio and GPS.

    • Doodz

      I hear ya… enough is enough.

      • Kagan

        Time for revolution.

        • Status

          And how do you propose to do that? The automakers are going where the money is, and you’re not going to be able to create a consumer bloc to oppose them this late in the game.

          It’s coming whether you like it or not.

          • Kagan

            Time for real revolution.

            Just a metafor😀

          • Status

            How, exactly?

          • Kagan

            Well if people come together everything is possible.

          • Status

            And has that ever happened at all in the real world? When has a consumer ever forced the hand of decentralized, organizational R&D arms of independent manufactures to abandon work on lucrative ventures that would solidify their place in the future before cities and city planners mandate the adoption of autonomous traffic management?

            I’ll put it another way, if a single automaker caved into public pressure to abandon their autonomous projects, they would be ceding their market share to their competitors and their market value would plummet.

            As for people, whenever they come together without any clear organization, you get useless anarchistic communes, Woodstock, and the 3 Abrahamic religions. None of them have contributed anything of value to the world except misery and death.

          • Kagan

            We don’t have to just be consumers!

            Still a metafor but there are a lot of reasons for real revolution.

          • assassingtr

            The world is a bigger place than you think. Considering most of the people on these forums are automotive enthusiasts for little mind for others they don’t realize the scale of it. The progress won’t be stopped, not for anyone. Especially for those who just want to live in the 1950’s. Not that there isn’t anything wrong with taking a good ole bare bones 911 to the canyon roads; but there is only a small population of people who enjoy it. I feel some people forget that cars are for everyone, not just the enthusiast.

          • Status

            The barebones, air-cooled 911 on a canyon road is an intoxicating, but it’s ultimately a romanticized and highly digestible vision of the enthusiast that can be understood by anyone on earth.

            But you’re completely right; it’s a vision that only a few can ever realistically enjoy, and is only too often routinely trumpeted by the self-styled enthusiasts as a commonality to everyone who has the ability use a vehicle for pleasure and not for work.

            To make that canyon-carving 911 dream a reality requires the financial means, a suitable road, favourable weather and traffic conditions, a knowledge of the 911’s mechanical operation, and the important leisure time to use it. Few people outside of the 1% have all those boxes ticked, and I find those air-headed enthusiasts who promote this understanding of car culture as unifying and everlasting as terribly short-sighted and ignorant of the real world.

            As an analogy, consider the following: If you live near an ocean, find a marina and take note of all of the pleasure craft moored there. Each vessel is a pleasure craft, and each one is used sparingly when the owner has the leisure time to sail around the harbour or along the coastline.

            Now image that for each single yacht you see moored at the marine, there are 100 beaten and well-worn fishing boats moored in coves and government wharves further up the coastline. These boats are owned by fishermen who have to work for a living; who’s livelihood is dependent upon what they catch from the sea. They don’t have leisure time to aimlessly sail into another harbour, and they can’t run their fishing boats hard because and wear they take will need to be repaired.

            TL;DR: All of us have dreams of cutting loose, but few of us have the leisure time and the money to pull it off. Many automotive enthusiasts like to believe that driving for leisure is shared by millions of other drivers on earth, but their vision is terribly shortsighted.

  • kDawg

    Of course it’s gonna be 11%. They probably showed a picture of a cabin with no steering wheel. I want to drive and be driven around when I want!

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