Self-driving cars don't yield for naysayers

As development of self-driving car technology moves ahead, there's a growing faction of people in the blogosphere who say they won't let a computer usurp their driving independence.

In one online discussion, comments ranged from "They'll take the steering wheel out of my cold, dead hands" to "I'm not trusting a robot to drive a car for me [for] a long time."

In a 2012 survey of British drivers commissioned by Bosch, a Germany-based supplier of automotive components, most of the respondents said they wouldn't buy a self-driving car. Only 29% said they would consider buying a driverless car, and just 21% said they would feel safe as a passenger in such a car.

The results differed somewhat by gender. About 36% of male respondents said they would consider buying a self-driving car, but only 20% of the women responded that way.

Bosch, which has invested heavily in driver assistance technology, also reported that 34% of the respondents said they believe driverless cars would reduce accidents.

Automakers such as GM and Volvo, and even tech companies such as Google, are developing technology that could one day make it possible for cars and trucks to navigate roadways on their own.

Proponents of the technology say it will allow commuters and long-haul truckers to make better use of their time on long, boring trips. More importantly, backers say, autonomous car technology will reduce accidents and allow people who are physically unable to drive to get behind a wheel.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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