Self-driving cars may seem like the next big thing, but it turns out most people don’t want them.
According to a new Gallup poll, Americans are “hitting the brakes” on autonomous vehicles. This is true across all age groups and genders. The survey of 3,297 U.S. adults was conducted in September and October, and results were released last night.
The poll reports that 54 percent of people are unlikely to use self-driving cars. Furthermore, 59 percent of respondents would be uncomfortable riding in them and 62 percent would be nervous sharing the road with them.
Fifty percent of men are reticent about self-driving cars, compared to 58 percent of women. Only 28 percent of males and 22 percent of females are enthusiastic about the technology.
Young people were most excited about autonomous vehicles, with 36 percent of 18 to 35-year-olds reporting they would ride in one. On the other side of the spectrum, only 12 percent of people over the age of 65 would be comfortable in a driverless car.
“The technology may be ready, but Americans aren’t,” Gallup executive director Brandon Busteed told Observer in an email.
It might be too late to stop the wave, however. Business Insider reports that 10 million self-driving vehicles will be on the road worldwide by 2020. And according to McKinsey, the autonomous car market could be worth more than $1.5 trillion by 2030.
Even federal regulators are stepping out of the way. A bill currently in the Senate would allow developers to test and market autonomous vehicles immediately—even though detailed federal safety regulations will take years to write.
But there’s always a possibility that consumer and government feelings will evolve. Gallup pointed out that in a 2000 survey, 23 percent of those polled said they would never buy a cell phone. That viewpoint has obviously changed in the last 18 years, and a similar shift may occur with self-driving cars.