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Millennials Warming To Self-Driving Cars

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Born between 1982 and 1994? According to a recent survey conducted by The American Automobile Association (AAA), 31% of millennials are quite comfortable with the idea of a self-driving vehicle. Compare that to 82% of baby boomers who said they’re not keen on the idea of riding in a self-driven car. Most Mississauga and Brampton millennials don’t even remember a time when the parental mini-van didn’t have cruise control. And for those of you who very likely grew up with a computer holding pride of place in their homes and schools, autonomous tech in the family vehicle doesn’t raise alarm bells. Computers can and should be trusted, even the one guiding your (future) car along the 401.

In terms of gender divides, men are far more open to semi-autonomous technologies than are women. Guys pretty much demand that their next vehicle features adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking features and or self-parking mechanisms. Look for an increase in men who insist on backing into the parking spot every time. (That’s a whole other topic for another day!) But it isn’t that women refuse the notion of autonomous technologies across the board. Women who were open to the concept saw the potential stress reduction of such functions as a purchasing motivator, although 23% of women surveyed by the AAA also said these functions would likely be too complicated to use. Really?    

Most boomers still want both hands on the wheel for now, especially 81% of women, who said they are not at all comfortable with the idea of a car driving itself with them inside. It could be a case of fear of the unknown; the more accustomed we become to actually seeing autonomous technologies in use, the more open we are to expanding our own reliance on them. Safety is the main attraction for boomers when it comes to self-driving vehicles. In millennial circles, it’s all about convenience and having the latest technology. Seriously, what could be more relaxing than a road trip guided by your fully connected crossover or SUV? Provided the extra technological features don’t raise the price tag, millennials are all over the idea of self-driving cars and trucks. In their eyes, the environment wins, too. Boomers were less concerned about the social responsibility factor built into electric and autonomous vehicles.  

Opportunities to test-drive a fully autonomous car are still relatively limited, but we’re warming to the concept as more and more vehicles feature some form of semi-autonomous function. In terms of the survey’s findings, lane assist technologies were perceived to be the most trustworthy, followed by adaptive cruise, emergency braking and finally, self-parking functions. If the stats are true and one in five Americans plan to purchase a car in the next year, it would serve those of us in Mississauga and Brampton well to educate ourselves about what these various forms of autonomous tech offer. The more we use something, the more we come to expect to use it. Wait for it: at the rate tech speeds along, we think you’ll be hearing the grandkids of GTA millennials asking, “Grandma, what’s a steering wheel?” in no time.   

Categories: News, Automotive Technology, Autonomous Vehicles, Study