Do Consumers Even Want Autonomous Cars?

If Ford, Volvo, GM and Uber are to be believed, self-driving cars will soon dominate our roads and car ownership will be a thing of the past.

If regular consumers are to be believed, automakers need to hold their horses, because people aren't ready for a self-driving future. Those are the findings from a new survey commissioned by Kelley Blue Book, which polled 2,264 U.S. residents weighted to census figures by age, gender, ethnicity and location.

The results, published Wednesday, found that 80% of survey participants said people should "always have the option to drive themselves." Sixty-four percent of respondents said they need to be in control of their own vehicle and 62% said they enjoy driving.

When asked about fully autonomous cars -- cars that drive themselves and do not have steering wheels or pedals -- a third of respondents said they would never buy such a vehicle. That could be bad news for Google and other automakers currently at work on such products.

When asked whether they thought they would live to see a world in which all vehicles are fully autonomous, 62% of respondents answered no. Baby boomers were the most resistant (76%), followed by Gen X (64%) and millennials (60%). Gen Z (ages 12-15) respondents were the most optimistic about a future full of self-driving cars, with only 33% expressing doubt.

And for all the talk about self-driving cars in the news, 25% of participants said they "know nothing" about the vehicles, 35% said they "know a little" and 28% said they "know some."

"The industry is talking a lot about self-driving vehicles these days... [but] much is still unknown about fully autonomous vehicles, including how they would react in emergency situations," said Karl Brauer, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

Self-driving cars are divided into levels based on how involved a human...

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