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Are Americans ready for driverless cars?

Americans love driving. Getting your license is a rite of passage as a teen. Cars are often given as gifts for birthdays, graduations, and holidays. So, it isn't surprising that a new Kelley Blue Book study about the future of autonomous vehicle driving suggests Americans aren't so keen on the idea of driverless cars. Like the new enhanced automated breaking options offered today, drivers are ok with a small level of interference if they help prevent accidents. However, drivers still want the ability to maintain control of the car. At least among older generations. 

The generational gap

According to the KBB study, of teens gearing up for drivers ed, 92 percent were interested in using or owning self-driving cars one day. Millennials were also comfortable imagining a driverless car future, while older drivers had more concerns. Overall, two-thirds of respondents believed roads would be safer if autonomous vehicles meant fewer accidents, many feel traditional cars with human control are safer than any self-automated counterpart could be.

Safety and accident concerns

Answers to questions such as how safe are they, would they prevent accidents, and who is at fault in an accident are largely unknown. With Tesla Motors' first auto-piloted car recently crashing and killing the driver, it's no wonder Americans are worried. While it is still unclear what caused the accident, the autopilot feature is up for investigation. Regulation and liability are limited and uncertain when it comes to automated car features and who might be at fault. 

Lyft, the ride-sharing company, laid out its driverless society vision indicating its own move towards autonomy in 5 years. The company thinks urban neighborhoods will be the first to do away with personal vehicles, where ride-sharing is most popular. Within 10 years, Lyft believes the suburbs could follow. Lyft is already working on cars that drive themselves. And by the year 2020, according to the Kelly Blue Book study, 6 in 10 consumers will opt to buy vehicles with autonomous capabilities.

Electrical functions have been known to fail in today's modern vehicles and Americans are apprehensive about losing control. However, experts think moving to a fully automated world could decrease the risk of accidents and deaths from vehicles. With well over a million people dying in crashes each year, automation may not be such a bad road to travel.

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