Of Course I Want a Self-Driving Car

Bring on the self-driving cars. I’ll be at the front of the line.

(Via AdAge.comA Gallup poll recently released…shows that plenty of Americans are still freaked out by the concept (or a self-driving car). Fifty-four percent of the U.S. respondents say they’re unlikely to use self-driving cars, according to “Americans Hit the Brakes on Self-Driving Cars,” which was released last week. The findings came from a larger Northeastern University/Gallup survey of Americans’ attitudes on artificial intelligence. People ages 66 and older have the greatest resistance, not surprisingly, with 69 percent saying they’re unlikely to use self-driving cars. Acceptance grows the younger the generation. People ages 18 to 35 are fairly split at 36 percent likely and 41 percent unlikely.

Are they kidding? When the reality of self-driving cars replaces the vehicles imagined by these surveyed older people, they will view self-driving cars as a means to retain their independence and freedom.

I recall that when my father was in his late 70s and still driving, he was in a wreck and had his driver’s license taken away. As driving back and forth to a gym was the central focus of his routine, he was determined to regain his license, or, more accurately, his independence.

This was not a goal anyone else endorsed. He had never been a good driver. For example, he never figured out that cars had side-view mirrors that could be used when changing lanes on an interstate highway. He just changed lanes when he felt it was time to change lanes.

But somehow, he was able to pass a drivers test and regained his license for a while, at least.

Autonomous autos have the potential of providing more mobility to older people or people with vision problems, even blindness, or people like me who hate to drive so much I ride a bike whenever possible.

Here’s a 360-degree video that Alphabet’s Waymo posted on YouTube today that is trying to persuade the masses that self-driving cars will be a lot less scary after we get to ride around in them. I can’t wait.