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Public opinion can change economies, start wars and stop them. Where emerging technology is concerned, consumer attitudes alone can dictate acceptance and success, or, rejection and failure. Sometimes it's the product that has to change and sometimes it's the audience for whom they are intended...
You may recall that last month we published an item about Nevada being the first state in the country to test driverless vehicles on public highways:
GasBuddy blog on driverless vehicles tested in Nevada
We're grateful for your comments and observations. Some of you said you can't wait to give it a try while others expressed extreme skepticism. And a few of you observed that we already have driverless vehicles!! (We won't dispute that...)
But do you think most Americans and Canadians think like you do when it comes to driverless vehicles, or, do you think your opinion is in the minority? The Economist magazine wants to know, so they asked consumers around the world if they'd welcome driverless vehicles.
You may be surprised by the results.
In N. America (no distinction was made between Americans and Canadians) when asked "Would you welcome the widespread use of automated, self-driving cars in your country?" 62.2 percent answered "Definitely"; 11.6 percent said "Yes" and another 5.2 percent answered "Probably." So 73.8 percent of us welcome driverless vehicles right now, and if you add those who say "Probably" to the mix, we're at 79 percent!
What does that say about us? Does it mean that we really are a nation of risk-takers, eager to press forward with experimental, emerging technology and see its potential now with real-world application?
Or, does it say that because we have such little faith in the ability of other drivers on the roads these days to operate a vehicle safely, we'll gladly take our chances with vehicles driven by microchips becuase they probably could do better?
In South America, 71.4 percent responded "Definitely"; they'd welcome them. Europeans were similar to North Americans also, but in Asia only 56 percent responded affirmatively; 33 percent said "Definitely Not" and/or "No."
For The Economist's worldwide results click here:
Economist: global attitudes on driverless cars