By Andrew Thurlow, Crain News Service
DETROIT (Nov. 6, 2013) — Nine of 10 licensed drivers would consider buying a self-driving car if it meant paying a lot less for insurance, according to a new survey by consumer website CarInsurance.com.
The survey asked consumers if they would buy—or consider buying—an autonomous vehicle if they could get an 80 percent discount on their auto insurance.
Thirty-four percent of respondents said they "very likely" would buy a self-driving vehicle and 56 percent said they would consider it if such an insurance discount was offered.
But saving money was not the only factor. About 20 percent of respondents said they would buy a self-driving vehicle if one was available with or without an insurance discount.
Despite nonautomotive companies such as Google working to develop autonomous vehicles, most respondents (54 percent) said they were more inclined to trust an auto maker than a software company to develop the vehicles.
Eighteen percent said they would trust electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, 15 percent said they would trust Google or Microsoft, and 12 percent responded that they would trust consumer product companies such as Apple or Samsung.
Asked what they would do with free time in an autonomous vehicle, 26 percent of respondents said text or talk with friends, 21 percent said read and 10 percent said sleep.
The national survey—conducted by online marketing research company OP4G for CarInsurance.com—polled 2,000 consumers. The survey has a margin of error of 2.2 percent, OP4G said.
A 2008 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 95 percent of accidents are caused by human error, the survey said, but autonomous features could dramatically change that number.
"Autonomous cars don't get distracted, text or drink while driving. They have a 360-degree view of the surrounding area and never get tired. Google robotics visionary Sebastian Thrun has predicted that autonomous vehicles could reduce traffic accidents by 90 percent," the survey said.
CarInsurance.com helps consumers shop for car insurance and provides information about insurance trends.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.