What Will It Take For You To Embrace Self-Driving Taxis?

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One big question surrounding autonomous vehicles is whether or not human beings will actually want to use them at all. While fully autonomous taxis seem more plausible at first than commercially available, single-owner autonomous cars, Automotive News says that, according to a new survey, 55 percent of respondents wouldn’t be cool riding in a fully self-driving vehicle.

The survey from firm Gartner, Inc., defines “a fully autonomous vehicle as a Google-style taxi — with no driver, steering wheel, brake pedals or accelerator.” Partially autonomous cars, it said, would still have human controls. Here is where people are concerned about the former:

The responses from 1,500 people in the United States and Germany underline the dilemma automakers face as they design self-driving cars, said Gartner consultant Mike Ramsey.

“The top concern for passengers is that the vehicle will get confused in complex situations,” Ramsey said. “The big challenge for automakers is that they’ll have to create an interface that allows people to have control.”

But the findings could also play into the hands of some auto suppliers — particularly makers of next-generation dashboard displays, such as Panasonic, Continental AG and Visteon Corp.


It’s actually kind of remarkable that the number is only 55 percent, considering that a semi-autonomous car has already partially been at fault in one man’s death, in addition to the technology itself being far from ready for primetime. (In January only a quarter of respondents in a different survey trusted self-driving cars.)

Still, self-driving taxis are part of our future, as much as horseless carriages were the future in the 19th century. What would it take for you to embrace a self-driving taxi? Will you still insist on a human driver until the bitter end? Or will you not notice at all?