The Google Car’s Koala-like face. Photo Credit: AP

Reducing traffic? Fighting the scourge of private ownership? Nah man, there’s something better about autonomous cars, and you can leave it to the Aussies to get it so right.


The Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (I’d never heard of them before either) recently put out some initial findings of a 5,000-person survey on how people feel about impending driverless cars, popping up across Aussie news sites. Full results are expected early 2017, but Mashable got to have an early talk with Michael Regan, chief scientist at the Australian Road Research Board overseeing the survey, and came away with a number of expected conclusions about how drivers like the idea of having a car drive for them, but didn’t like the idea of a car driving in an inhuman manner.

They didn’t want a self-driving car to follow other cars closer than a human would; they didn’t want a self-driving car to rive their kids around without another adult in the car; they didn’t want a self-driving car to have no steering wheel. This is all good to hear this from Australians, who have a similar set of driving conditions to what we have here in the United States.


However! These Australians did have a correct assessment of when they would want a driverless car in their lives:

When they’re bored, tired, or drunk.

From Mashable:


Preliminary results from a national study undertaken by the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) suggest Australians are fairly keen to give up the steering wheel.

The survey of more than 5,000 Australians over the age of 18 found that a majority liked the idea of using a driverless vehicle when they were tired, when driving was “boring or monotonous,” or if they had consumed alcohol or drugs.

In short, driving is boring and gets in the way of living the drunk, texting lives we all want to live. Driverless cars promise a way around that that doesn’t include the bus. Other issues like safety, cybersecurity, and cost are major issues that need to get addressed, but the big draw of autonomobiles is already pretty clear.



This is a very astute assessment of the attraction of driverless vehicles, so much more so than all of the mobility buzzwords that city planners like to blab about.