What Drives Support for Self-Driving Cars?

By: Joshua Ferno  

Technological advancements for the production of autonomous vehicles are nearing levels of commercial availability, promising to bring dramatic changes to everyday life. The degree to which these vehicles are integrated into the transportation system will be heavily dependent upon regulatory policy. Public opinion about self-driving vehicle policy will inform those policies. This study seeks to understand the current landscape of public opinion on self-driving cars and how it may develop in the future. The project leverages a series of survey-based randomized and controlled experiments, designed to present varied information about perceived benefits and drawbacks to autonomous vehicle technology, to a representative sample of the United States to shed light on the nuance behind correlates of public opinion in this area. Findings offer insight on citizens’ attitudes toward the role of government in this emerging technology, as well as contribute to a conversation regarding the perceived value of human autonomy relative to that of the labor-saving benefits of automation. Results suggest that stimuli related to personal safety and autonomy are particularly important, more so than stimuli related to economic implications. Findings are relevant to scholars, policymakers and industry members alike regarding the extent that particular arguments about autonomous vehicles can affect their image among consumers and the wider public.

Artificial intelligence, Vehicles, Regulation, Safety, Consumer Behavior, News, Transportation, Access
Technologies in Knowledge Sharing
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Joshua Ferno

Student, Department of Political Science & Policy Studies, Elon University, United States
United States