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Most Americans expect cars to be driverless within 50 years — but still won’t ride in them

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Car companies are planning to put driverless cars on the road by 2020, and the government is in the process of making that legal. Americans themselves are a little less ready, according to survey data released today by Pew Research Center.

About two-thirds of U.S. adults expect most cars to be driverless within the next half century (only 8 percent think they will never happen). At the same time, more than half of Americans — 56 percent — say they would not ride in a driverless car if given the opportunity.

The sentiments highlight another major hurdle necessary to making driverless cars a reality — negative consumer opinion.

Those who would and would not ride in a driverless car held vastly different opinions on the merits and detractions of autonomous vehicles. For example, people who would not ride in driverless cars also perceived them as less safe and less useful than those who would, according to Pew’s survey.

Based on current opinions, driverless car companies have a lot of work to do on changing public perception.


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