Kez Casey | May 25, 2016

While car makers continue to roll out autonomous prototypes on show stands around the world, a recent study has shown that most drivers would prefer to keep doing the driving themselves.

Breaking down the figures in the report, tabled by the University of Michigan, reveals that 46 percent of respondents would prefer to drive a vehicle with no autonomous driving capabilities whatsoever, compared to a car that offered full, or partial self-driving abilities.

Partial self-driving capabilities were the preference of 39 percent of respondents, while only 16 percent of the sample group indicated that they’d prefer to let a fully autonomous vehicle do the commuting for them.

As reflected in previous studies, younger drivers are more willing to trust autonomous vehicles, however only 19 percent of 18 to 29 year olds are comfortable with the technology, compared to 22 percent of 30 to 44 year olds.

Overwhelmingly, 95 percent of study participants indicated that regardless of the level of automation, they’d still like to see a set of back-up controls in place, to resume manual control at any time if required.

Less than 10 percent of those interviewed declared that they had no concerns with fully autonomous vehicles taking to the roads, with 17 percent finding no issue with partially autonomous vehicles.

The results point to an interesting rift between the speed at which car companies are developing autonomous technologies, and the pace with which consumer attitudes are warming to the new introductions.

With automakers including Nissan, Daimler, and Tesla committed to introducing commercially available autonomous vehicles by 2020, and other companies set to introduce partial, or fully autonomous technologies on a similar timeframe, those attitudes could be pivotal to the uptake of the technology.

Technology firms, including Google, are also set to enter the autonomous vehicle race, while car sharing company, Uber, recently revealed its own version of an autonomous prototype, set to begin testing.

The strategy for many of these companies however, has little to do with 'private vehicle' ownership, but more to do with the potential of autonomous cars within integrated public transit systems. Google has made it plain that its interest in self-driving vehicle technology is in mass-transport solutions.‚Äč

Other companies, such as GM and its recent investment in Lyft, and its acquisition of Cruise Automation, are motivated by the same strategy.

This, of course, changes the proposition from "would you own one?" to "would you use one?". And that may produce an entirely different set of results.

“Overall public opinion has been remarkably consistent over the two years that this survey has been conducted, despite the increased media coverage of self-driving vehicles,” according to the research report.

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