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Americans Can't Agree on Self-Driving Cars: Harris Poll

Self-driving cars may be cool and the wave of the future, but a third of Americans say they would never buy one.
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Self-driving cars may be cool and the wave of the future, and if you believe Elon Musk, human-driven cars could one day be illegal. But many Americans aren't convinced, with a third of saying they would never buy a self-driving vehicle. That’s among the findings of a new Harris poll on Americans' attitudes toward autonomous vehicles. The poll surveyed 2,276 adults online and found that, for the most part, we can't agree on the good and the bad when it comes to self-driving vehicles. More than a third of respondents say these vehicles are the future of driving, while almost one quarter believe the vehicles are something out of a 'Jetsons' cartoon.

Americans are largely split when it comes to how safe these autos are: 48 percent say self-driving cars would be "safe" for those inside the vehicle and 52 percent say "dangerous." As for pedestrians and other people outside the car itself, 57 percent feel self-driving vehicles would be dangerous for other drivers in their proximity.

So what would it take to persuade Americans to buy an autonomous car? Over one-fifth say they will consider buying or leasing when the "bugs" have been worked out. Most notably, however, a third say they will never consider buying or leasing a self-driving vehicle — an attitude that was more prevalent among older respondents.



— James Eng