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Consumer confidence and the progress of autonomous vehicles
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Consumer confidence and the progress of autonomous vehicles

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers predict that 75% of cars on the roads in the world will be autonomous by 2040. How is that prediction holding up? And are consumers ready for self-driving cars?

Last month, a few major players in the development of autonomous vehicles got a big boost. Softbank committed $2.5 billion to General Motors (GM), keeping the company on pace to reach its goal of putting autonomous vehicles into commercial service in 2019. GM also announced that it will be putting another billion into Cruise, its self-driving development arm. Waymo (Google's self-driving vehicle division) and Chrysler-Fiat have also ramped up and expanded plans to roll out 52.000 Chrysler minivans.

Investors and big money are not slowing down despite a few setbacks. One of the goals for autonomous vehicles is increased safety, but a few high profile fatalities have tarnished that promise. Last year, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber. Earlier, an Apple engineer in a Tesla Model X crash in Autopilot. These reports have shaken public confidence and contributed to consumer unease. In an article highlighting recent consumer attitude surveys, the Washington Post says that most people expect driverless cars to become common, and they worry about it:

"In the HNTB survey, 55 percent of people said they wouldn’t ride in an autonomous vehicle. A survey last month by AAA put that number at 73 percent, and one by the group Consumer Watchdog that came out three days later had nearly the same result at 74 percent. "

However, the surveys differed in assessment of attitudes by millennials:

"The HNTB report added nuance to the findings about people ages 18 to 34, noting that a majority of them think that autonomous cars are safer than those with human drivers and that they would make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. HNTB’s survey ran counter to AAA, finding that 60 percent of millennials said they’re ready to climb into one of the cars."

Experts say that some deaths and setbacks are inevitable on the path to autonomous vehicles. Big money is undeterred and still betting on a driverless future.

More developments on autonomous vehicles:

“Driver readiness” and the rise of autonomous vehicles

The 6 levels of autonomous vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles Will Be A New Opportunity For Marketers

How IoT is Driving the Autonomous Vehicle Revolution

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