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Drivers Open to Self-Driving Cars, But Still Want Control: Survey

The age of the autonomous vehicle is fast approaching — but not everyone is excited about it. Forty-four percent of drivers said they'd rather keep control.
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With Google's self-driving cars testing on the road and other manufacturers working on their own, it seems like the age of the autonomous vehicle is fast approaching — but not everyone is excited about it. A new survey conducted by the University of Michigan's Transport Research Institute found that 44 percent of drivers would rather not have any kind of self-driving car as their personal vehicle, and 41 percent would prefer one that allows the driver to take control. Only around 15 percent expressed that they were fine with a completely self-driving car.

Related: Google's Self-Driving Car Prototypes Hit Public Roads for the First Time

"Self-driving vehicles are often discussed in regard to their potential safety, energy consumption and environmental benefits," said Brandon Schoettle, co-author of the study with Michael Sivak. "However, less attention has been paid to considering the actual level of automation, if any, that drivers desire in their vehicle."

Men and younger respondents were more likely to favor self-driving cars of both totally and partially autonomous types, while women and older folks expressed more concern over both. But nearly all respondents replied that they'd prefer having a steering wheel and pedals in the car just in case.

The online survey was conducted in June with 505 licensed drivers of various ages, locations and incomes.

Of course, these attitudes might change after the technology has been out there for a few years — this is already a big improvement over a poll from last year in which 65 percent of motorists called self-driving cars "a dangerous idea."