Canadians wary of autonomous vehiclesClick image to enlarge

Autonomous vehicles may be the future but Canadians don't trust them yet, according to new research released by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). The research results come on the eve of a major conference that looks at the guture of autonomous vehicles.

Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of Canadians say they would not trust a vehicle to drive itself while they are in it, stating concerns such as vehicle hacking, theft of data generated by the vehicle, and accountability in the event of an accident.

Despite their doubts today, Canadians still believe there are benefits to driverless cars in the future, such as improved accessibility for people with mobility issues and fewer road safety incidents due to reduced human error. In fact, more than half (57 per cent) of Canadians say they think this technology will advance to a point where they would fully trust a driverless car in the next 10 years.

"Canadians clearly see the potential. We are just not there yet. Conferences like this one will help advance the dialogue around the pros and cons of this new technology," says Jeff Walker, VP of Public Affairs for CAA National. "Wherever the debate leads, CAA will be there to make sure the views of the driving public are well represented."

The public opinion research was done in conjunction with the Conference Board of Canada's conference, Automated Vehicles: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology, being held Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 19 in Toronto. CAA, which is sponsoring the conference, will also moderate a panel on the privacy considerations surrounding driverless cars on Tuesday at 2:45 p.m.

The results are based on a survey of 2,090 representative Canadians, conducted between March 23 and March 30, 2016. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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