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Survey: American Consumers Worried About Hacking of Driverless Cars

Hacking is the biggest concern of American consumers when it comes to self-driving vehicles, according to a new survey by insurer AIG.

According to Bloomberg, the 1,000 respondents were split on the question of whether they were comfortable sharing the road with a self-driving car. 42 percent indicated they were comfortable with that, and 41 percent were not. 39 percent said they believed self-driving vehicles would be safer than a human-operated automobile. 75 percent – three in four – said that they feel there is a threat that hackers might take control of an autonomous vehicle. A majority also did not expect driverless cars to be on the road in large numbers within the next two decades.

Respondents were much more passionate in their evaluation of the cybersecurity risks of self-driving cars. Three-fourths of those surveyed said they think there’s a threat that hackers would take control of autonomous vehicles. The majority said they don’t expect driverless cars will be on the road within the next two decades.

A number of surveys have been tracking consumer sentiment towards autonomous vehicles. A September 2016 survey from Kelley Blue Book evaluated how willing consumers were to give up control to a computer-operated car. 80 percent of the respondents in that survey said that people should always have the option to drive themselves, with only 20 percent stating that if a computer system were capable of controlling every vehicle on the road, then humans driving should be illegal.

30 percent of respondents to the Kelley Blue Book survey claimed they would never buy a fully autonomous or “Level 5” vehicle, and 19 percent said they would only buy one if they had no other choice. 16 percent would buy such a vehicle as soon as they were available; a slight majority (35 percent) indicated that they would wait to buy one until they were more comfortable with the idea. A Level 5 autonomous vehicle is one in which there is no steering wheel or pedals, and all driving is done by computers with no ability for humans to take over.

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