Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said self-driving cars would not make them more productive. Another 36 percent said they’d be too concerned to do anything but watch the road. Erika Beras reports.
Advocates for self-driving cars love to tout the benefits the cars would bring, such as fewer accidents and less congestion. Another alleged value of being a passenger rather than a driver is more productivity—you could work rather than concentrate on driving. But most people might not spend their newfound free time in self-driving cars whittling down their to-do lists.
That’s according to a study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at The University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation program. [Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, Would Self-Driving Vehicles Increase Occupant Productivity?]
The researchers surveyed people in the U.S., Australia, China, India, Japan and the U.K. And about 62 percent of respondents said self-driving cars would not make them more productive. For one thing, 23 percent of the group said they won’t ride in a self-driving car in the first place. And then there are the people who get motion sickness—they obviously can’t work. Plus, another 36 percent said they’d be too concerned to do anything but watch the road.
The researchers also noted that most trips average 19 minutes—not really long enough to get anything truly substantial done. Or to catch some quality zzzzz’s.
Of course, the level of apprehension people experience in self-driving cars , or about getting into them, may change in the long-run. But this study is another reminder that there’s still a lot to be figured out before automatic autos rule the roadways.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]