For a lucky few, the dream of self-driving cars is almost a reality. Owners of the latest Tesla models have been able to test out an experimental autonomous mode for more than half a year. Though the company highly recommends that drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times – it's still an experimental feature, after all – it is now technically possible to drive without any user input (beyond selecting a destination, of course).
"Many consumers still appear wary of our increasingly autonomous future."
But while this may be an exciting prospect for some, many consumers still appear wary of our increasingly autonomous future. One recent study conducted by the University of Michigan found that only 15 percent of respondents wanted a completely self-driving car.
Thirty-nine percent were only comfortable with partial self-driving technology, and 46 percent didn't want this capability at all. At around the same time, a survey by the American Automobile Association found that 75 percent of respondents fear being inside an autonomous vehicle.
This is understandable. Obviously, many people who are used to driving a certain way will balk at the prospect of having control taken out of their hands. And yet, researchers believe that once the technology is finalized, it could virtually eliminate car crashes – and, most importantly, road deaths. Considering that more than 30,000 Americans died in crashes in 2013, this is no small thing.
It seems imperative that automakers invest in autonomous technology to ensure its reliability when it is rolled out to the masses. In addition, proper evaluation from a vehicle testing service can ensure that systems in these cars perform as expected, no matter how complex they are.