Changing views of self-driving cars...

I just saw a funny juxtaposition of headlines regarding self-driving cars.  Of most autonomous systems, self-driving cars probably represent the easiest to understand for the lay public.

The first headline, from a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll:  Most Americans wary of self-driving cars.  

While 27 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable riding in a self-driving car, poll data indicated that most people were far more trusting of humans than robots and artificial intelligence under a variety of scenarios.

The results are more interesting when viewed by age group.  It makes intuitive sense that millennials are most comfortable with baby boomers the least.  Millenials are less interested in driving and because of greater exposure to autonomous technology, may be more comfortable and trusting than other age groups.  It should be noted that that is not a correct view, however.  Their view of technology could be distorted or unrealistic.

 Image source: http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/AUTO-SELFDRIVING-SURVEY/010060NM16V/AUTO-SELFDRIVING-SURVEY.jpg

Image source: http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/AUTO-SELFDRIVING-SURVEY/010060NM16V/AUTO-SELFDRIVING-SURVEY.jpg

The next headline:  More Americans Willing To Ride In Self-Driving Cars.  The results of a survey from American Automobile Association (AAA) confirm Reuter's survey:  millennials and males are more willing to buy a self-driving car.  The headline refers to a decrease (78% to 63%), year over year, in the number of people who said they were afraid to ride in a self-driving car.

The crux of these observations seem to be trust:

AAA’s survey also offered insights as to why some motorists are reluctant to purchase advanced vehicle technology. Most trust their driving skills more than the technology (73 percent) — despite the fact that research shows more than 90 percent of crashes involve human error. Men in particular, are confident in their driving abilities with 8 in 10 considering their driving skills better than average.