Americans Are Super Scared About Driverless Cars Getting Hacked: Study

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Developing an autonomous car that’s deemed safe is one thing. Convincing the majority of skeptical Americans autonomous cars are ready for primetime driving action, not so much. A new study echoes previous findings—most consumers remain uneasy about the technology—but the survey from American International Group found the greatest concern could be the threat of hackers taking control of the ride, according to Bloomberg.


American International, an insurer, said in the study that U.S. residents are “polarized” about driverless cars, with a near-equal split emerging among the 1,000 people polled in the survey.

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

The 1,000 people polled were almost equally split on whether they were comfortable sharing the road with autonomous vehicles, with 42 percent generally OK with it and 41 percent saying they had reservations, AIG said in a statement Tuesday. A plurality of 39 percent said they thought such vehicles would operate more safely than the average driver.


The minor caveat here is that the public is still become familiarized with a fledgling technology. Fully-autonomous cars are still years away from hitting the streets. So, it’s reasonable to assume that more consumers will come around to the idea as the technology proliferates across the industry.

As with any new technology skittishness can be expected, and many fear the backlash that could take root if a fatal crash—akin to the 2016 incident involving a Tesla owner driving in the car’s autonomous Autopilot mode—occurs.


Hacking’s different, though—a half-million passwords to car tracking devices were leaked just last month—and the study cited by Bloomberg notes that 75 percent of respondents are afraid that hackers could take control of their hypothetical future autonomous car.

But a majority of the respondents apparently took an even-keeled, deferential view of what it’ll take to actually deploy driverless cars onto public roads: a majority said they don’t believe they’ll hit the streets within the next two decades, Bloomberg reports.