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Would you buy a self-driving car in exchange for an insurance discount?

Survey finds nine out of 10 drivers would be willing to let go of the wheel for a break on their auto insurance premiums.

By Douglas Newcomb Nov 8, 2013 7:00AM

Autonomous car. Photo by Volvo.One of the barriers to self-driving cars becoming mainstream is consumer acceptance of the technology, according the predictions by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. But one thing that could entice drivers to let go of the wheel and let robots cars drive for them is cold hard cash.

A survey by found that nine of 10 licensed drivers would contemplate buying a self-driving car if they could get a break on their auto insurance. When asked if they would buy or consider buying a self-driving car, 34 percent of respondents said they were “very likely” to do so. But when the deal was sweetened with an 80 percent discount on auto insurance premiums, this figure increased to 56 percent.

A much smaller percentage said they would buy a self-driving car even if they wouldn’t get a break on auto insurance, and more than half said they would trust a traditional carmaker rather than a tech company to produce their autonomous cars.

Approximately 20 percent of survey respondents said they would buy a self-driving vehicle with or without an insurance discount. And despite another recent survey by KPMG that found the opposite, a majority of respondents (54 percent) said they’d trust autonomous cars from an automaker more than from a software or technology company.

But only 18 percent said they would trust electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors to build a self-driving car. Almost as many, 15 percent, said they would trust Google or Microsoft, while 12 percent said they would trust consumer electronics companies such as Apple or Samsung.

Still, the survey found that human drivers are not quite ready to hand over driving to machines. For example, 64 percent of those surveyed said “computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making that human drivers exhibit," while 75 percent said they can drive a car better than a computer could. Another 75 percent said they would not trust a driverless car to take their children to school.

When asked what they would do with their “free time” behind the wheel in an autonomous vehicle, 26 percent of said text or talk with friends, 21 percent wanted to read and 10 percent would sleep. A write-in “Other” category included answers ranging from 10 percent of respondents who said they would “enjoy the scenery,” while 9 percent would “watch the road” or “hold on for dear life.”

The survey was conducted nationwide by online marketing research company OP4G for and polled 2,000 consumers.

[Source: Automotive News]
Nov 8, 2013 2:16PM

So long as I'm legally able to drive my own vehicle, I shall do so. I do not care how much "safer" the auto driving vehicles are, I enjoy driving and it relaxes me heavily. If nothing else, I welcome the shift of the majority of American's moving to a auto driving system as then their horrible driving skills will no longer be relevant. Won't be individuals randomly breaking, from trying to put their makeup on and ignoring the road, or texting and driving.


I say, this is a win/win for us auto enthusiasts.

Nov 8, 2013 8:50AM
Absolutely not!  Either you are driving, or you are not.  If you are not, you are a passenger and might as well be riding a bus or an airplane.  Let's keep the driverless cars on a small number of specially-selected expressways so that the real roads (the ones with curves) are left to those of us who want to drive, not just be transported from point A to point B.  I'll never buy a car that can drive itself.
Nov 12, 2013 8:14AM
Every time I read something about self-driving cars I can't help but think about the Will Smith movie "I Robot."  That movie has a scene where Smith's character is admonished for getting into a major pile up while operating his car in "manual mode."  Is this where we are headed as a society?

In response to the question above:  no effing way.  I like to drive.  I like to think that I do it well.  I take pride in it.  I hate to think that someday because we have given in to accommodating the idiots of the road that the rest of us will have to give up our privileges to them all in the name of "safety." Besides, why pay for technology I am not interested in owning?  I seriously doubt the insurance discount would cover the cost.
Nov 8, 2013 11:30AM
Mac, Mac, Mac, Are we still doing the 2nd grade thing? Are you  still bashing Toyota for the same things that your favorite manufacturer has? OK, I'll play along but you only have five minutes until the recess bell rings!

In the last 11 days alone!!!

23,000 Ford C-Max's recalled for failing to conform to Federal safety standards
3,200 Chevy Cruz's recalled for right front half shafts fracturing
1,600 Chevy Sonics recalled for insufficient welds that can cause the fuel tank to FALL OUT
19,000 Camaros recalled for not conforming to Federal safety standards
19,000 Silvarados recalled for not complying to Federal safety standards
92,000 Jeep Cherokkes recalled for potential loss of ABS and ESC, as well as loss of warning lights on the dash

Do you really want to keep embarrassing yourself like this Mac? Maybe growing up a tad and realizing that ALL manufacturers have recalls would be a good thing? Come on....put on your big boy pants and maybe man up a bit k?

Nov 9, 2013 11:59AM
No! I would rather drop dead than give up driving by myself!

Self driving cars might look good now, but if most of the cars are self driving, and if we suppose that the software driving them does not make mistakes - next on the list will be legislation to make car insurance optional, because at that point - it will be obsolete.

The first politician who taps into making car insurance for self driving cars optional will win the election. If I were an insurance company, I would think very long and very hard about whether self driving cars will be good for business 20 years from now. The car insurance industry is guaranteed profit right now, because car insurance is mandatory. When it becomes optional for cars driven automatically by software, profits from insurance will no longer be guaranteed nor steady.
Nov 8, 2013 9:31AM
Of course the thought of your car driving itself is going to make people uncomfortable but it's coming, like it or not. The more tests that are performed the more results there are proving that a computer is a better driver than a human, thus the reason that planes are flying and landing on their own. As the proof continues to build that many many lives will be saved by taking a human from the control of the car, eventually it will become mandatory that cars do the driving for us. People that want to drive their car for whatever reason will be forced off from public roads and onto tracks or other remote places to have their fun.
  I am not comfortable with my car driving me either yet but am open minded enough to realize that many lives will be saved since computers do not text, drink, eat, apply make up, smoke, play with their audio system, rubber neck or anything else that people do that takes their eyes off the road when driving. Yes, there will be instances where there are computer errors that will cause accidents but they will be far less deadly than what we are dealing with today. Driving your own vehicle will become something that you do after work or on the weekends for fun. Safety will prevail and we will all be "shuttled" to and from work, to grocery stores, movies, dinner etc.

Nov 8, 2013 11:26AM



This months off to business as usual for Toyota


 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it is recalling 33,000 cars, pickup trucks and commercial vehicles worldwide to replace a defective part that may cause engine failure.

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