Automakers like Fiat Chrysler may be doubling down on their efforts to deliver self-driving cars to the masses, but consumers aren’t sold on the idea of autonomous vehicles and are becoming increasingly skeptical of the technology.
According to a J.D. Power study, 11 percent more of Generation Z consumers said they “definitely would not” trust self-driving cars compared to last year’s study, while another 23 percent said they “probably would not” trust one. The pre-baby boomer generation saw a 9 percent uptick in “definitely not trust” opinions compared to last year, while 81 percent of the baby boomer generation said they “probably” or “definitely” wouldn’t trust autonomous cars.
One analyst told Edmunds that typically companies will develop tech and the masses will warm up to it over time, however with autonomous vehicles, consumer trust in the technology is directly tied to interest in the technology. If car shoppers are becoming increasingly weary of self-driving cars, automakers and tech companies may not be as wise to invest in them as once thought.
Contributing to this nosedive in consumer trust could be the widely publicized accidents some self-driving vehicles have been involved in. One of Google’s self-driving prototypes crashed into a bus last year at low-speed and Uber recently made headlines when one of its self-driving Volvos flipped on its side after colliding with an SUV. While neither of those accidents resulted in serious injury or death, it’s likely that some consumers will see the headlines and become apprehensive of the technology.
This news comes just as Google’s Waymo self-driving car offshoot ordered an additional 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for its test fleet. FCA had delivered 100 of the vans to the company late last year and placed a second, larger order after the company was impressed with the hybrid van’s performance. Waymo is also now offering rides to Phoenix-area residents in its self-driving car prototypes, though after these findings, we’re not so sure the public will be interested.