Californians’ Opinions on Self-Driving Cars

Los Angeles, California — According to a new survey by Autonomous Vehicles California, a majority of Californians are willing to share the road with self-driving cars if they are in designated lanes. 73% of Californians surveyed would be in support of a highway lane dedicated to self-driving cars, and nearly 60% would feel more comfortable sharing the road if dedicated lanes existed.

Pie chart showing 72.5% of Californians would support a dedicated self-driving lane.

About 60% of respondents also desired effective self-driving car regulations and a track record of safety well beyond human drivers to feel comfortable with self-driving cars on public roads.

Bar chart indicating that safety record, designated lanes and regulations would make Californians feel more comfortable sharing the road with self-driving cars.

These findings are part of a new survey released today that examines the sentiments of California residents’ towards self-driving cars, as well as what would affect their willingness to utilize self-driving cars. The survey sampled 313 adults over age 18 in the state of California.

Californians still have reservations about self-driving cars with 50% indicating that they are interested in the possibilities, but are not yet convinced. These results were fairly consistent with a 2018 nationwide self-driving survey from Forbes and Statista, in which 54% of Americans said they were unsure about self-driving cars but find the idea interesting. However, nearly 30% of Californians were excited about the possibility of self-driving cars, compared to 22% at the national level.

Pie chart showing that 50% of Californians are interested in but not convinced of self-driving cars, while 29% are very excited about them.

Still, more than 60% would consider hailing a self-driving car for a long-distance trip to a specific destination.

Pie chart showing that 60% of Californians would consider hailing a self-driving car for long-distance trips.

62% would consider a self-driving car as their primary mode of transportation.

Pie chart showing that 62% of Californians would be willing to consider self-driving cars as their primary mode of transportation.

Younger Californians showed more support for self-driving car lanes and were also more ready to begin using self-driving cars for long commutes or as a primary mode of transportation. 

Bar chart showing that younger Californians are more likely to support self-driving cars.

Commentary and Summary from Autonomous Vehicles California

Numerous companies including Uber, Lyft, Waymo, and Tesla are testing self-driving cars on the road today. Several studies predict significant gains in commute time, productivity, and safety once self-driving cars are widely in use. However, the California public remains wary about allowing self-driving cars in daily commute without proven safety records and sufficient regulation. Based on our study results, one avenue that may have promise in expediting access and technological progress for self-driving cars is a designated lane. 73% of Californians broadly and 80% of Californians under the age of 45 would support a dedicated self-driving lane.

Survey Methodology

The total sample size was 313 California adults over the age of 18 equally weighted between genders and age groups. The online survey was conducted from September 5 to September 8, 2019. 

About Autonomous Vehicles California

Autonomous Vehicles California (AutonomousCA.org) is a grassroots public advocacy organization, dedicated to accelerating the safe and efficient use of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads. To learn more about Autonomous Vehicles California, please visit: http://www.autonomousca.org/


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1 thought on “Californians’ Opinions on Self-Driving Cars

  1. Pingback: Study: Those in Urban and Rural Areas More Likely to Support Self-Driving Cars - Autonomous Vehicles California

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