Drivers Don't Want Full-On Autonomy Controlling Their Vehicles

A recent study showed people still prefer to have some control while driving.

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Ford Blue Cruise
Ford Blue Cruise
Image: Ford

Automakers and tech startups have been pushing autonomy on consumers for the last few years. While it appears no on asked whether or not anyone was really interested it, they just started developing it. It turns out people actually still want to drive their cars. A recent IIHS survey published this month showed people want some autonomy, but still want overall control over their vehicles, GM Authority reports.

The survey, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, asked 1,010 drivers on his/hers demands on automated driving. Overall the survey showed that there is still some resistance to autonomy, especially when it comes to certain features. For example, 80 percent of drivers liked lane keep assist, but 36 percent wanted a more hands-on approach with the feature compared to just 27 percent who wanted full autonomy for lane keeping.

Drivers also prefer systems that require them to make a lane change, rather than take the initiative and perform the change by itself. Some 45 percent of drivers said they would prefer to make the change themselves compared to just 14 percent who want the vehicle to do the change.

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What’s really surprising is the number of people ok with an in-car big brother. Nearly 60 percent of drivers said they were ok with a camera monitoring driver hand movements; 57 percent said they would prefer to have a camera monitor their gaze while driving with 70 percent of drivers ok with sensors monitoring their hand movements on the steering wheel.

So what does all this have to say about the future of autonomy? People still want control. While systems like Ford’s Blue Cruise and GM’s SuperCruise show the future is here for sophisticated systems that drive the vehicle, people want a middle ground with features that help them pay attention while driving.

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It’s good to see people actually want control of their vehicles instead of some appliance. But, you also have to ask yourself if at the end of the day, does any of this really matter? Remember, half the tech that’s in vehicles now goes unused by drivers simply because they have no interest in using it.