Nearly two-thirds of Canadians have serious doubts about the safety of driverless cars

In my previous post, I discussed how the adoption of driverless cars, while still likely, is now looking like it may take longer to happen than originally anticipated.

Research released by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) on the eve of the Conference Board of Canada’s conference entitled, “Automated Vehicles:  Planning the Next Disruptive Technology” – held in Toronto on April 19 and 20 – would seem to support this contention. The CAA research says that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Canadians say they would not trust a vehicle to drive itself while they ride in it. Survey respondents cited a number of concerns including vehicle hacking, theft of data generated by the vehicle, and accountability in the event of an accident.

Canadians understand the benefits of driverless cars, including greater road safety due to reduced human error and reduced congestion.  More than half (57 percent) of those surveyed said they thought that autonomous vehicles would advance to the point where they would fully trust a driverless car within 10 years.

Despite their doubts today, Canadians still believe there will be other benefits to driverless cars in the future, such as improved accessibility for people with mobility issues and fewer road safety incidents due to reduced human error. In fact, more than half (57 percent) of Canadians say they think this technology will advance to a point where they would fully trust a driverless car in the next 10 years.

These opinion surveys have important implications for property and casualty insurers as they work with customers during the transition to driverless cars.  Above all, insurers need to live in the present — making sure that needed improvements to the customer experience and to overall operating efficiency continue – while planning for a future that may take longer to arrive than originally anticipated.

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