Survey says drivers are positive but concerned about self-driving cars

The survey, conducted by Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), 1,533 people were asked about autonomous vehicles. The respondents were from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and all were over age 18. The number asked in each country was roughly evenly split (501 U.S., 527 UK, 505 Australia).

The US had the highest percentage responding that they had previously heard of autonomous vehicles (70.9%), followed by the UK (66.0%) and Australia (61.0%).


The most positive responses towards the technology came from Australia (61.9%), followed by the US (56.3%) and the UK (52.2%). The highest incidence of negative impressions was in the US (16.4%), followed by the UK (13.7%) and Australia (11.3%).

Respondents in Australia were most likely to indicate some level of interest in having this technology (67.7% said “very/moderately/slightly interested”), followed by the US (66.3%), and the UK (63.4%). While the majority expressed some level of interest in having this technology, “not at all interested” was the most frequent response in all three countries (34.2% overall).

About a quarter of drivers asked were willing to pay for the technology, but the majority was not willing to pay for it. In the U.S., the average premium drivers were willing to pay was $2,000, while Australians were willing to pay more ($2,350) and Brits less ($1,710).

Women expressed higher levels of concern with self-driving vehicles than did men. Similarly, women were more cautious about their expectations concerning benefits from using self-driving vehicles.

In comparison to the respondents in the UK and Australia, respondents in the US expressed greater concern about riding in self-driving vehicles; data privacy; interacting with non-self-driving vehicles; self-driving vehicles not driving as well as human drivers in general; and riding in a self-driving vehicle with no driver controls available.

You can see the survey and results here:  A Survey of Public Opinion about Autonomous and Self-Driving Vehicles in the US, the UK, and Australia (UMTRI-2014-21).

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at