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The younger you are, the more likely you are to trust autonomous cars

4-19-2017, Autoblog -- Your feelings about autonomous cars could be related to your age, as a recent J.D. Power study has found out. According to the 2016 US Tech Choice Study, younger generations trust fully autonomous cars far more strongly than older generations.

As many as 56 percent of "Gen Y" vehicle owners, also known as millennials, trust self-driving technology, closely mirrored by 55 percent of Gen Z'ers (born in the mid-1990s at earliest) feeling the same. The study was conducted in February and March of 2016 among 7,900 people who bought or leased a new vehicle in the last five years.

41 percent of Generation X customers trust autonomous tech, but there is a steep drop to 23 and 18 percent when so-called Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers are asked about it. A full 39 percent of Baby Boomers "definitely would not trust" self-driving technology, and neither would 40 percent of Pre-Boomers (born between 1930 and 1945). Only 11 percent of Generation Z customers feel as negatively, and only 27 percent of Gen X and 18 percent of Gen Y drivers share the sentiment.

"The level of trust is directly linked to the level of interest in a new technology among automobile buyers," says Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. "Acceptance can be increased with exposure over time and experience with automated technologies. But trust is fragile and can be broken if there is an excessive number of incidents with automated vehicles."

Still, the adjacent tech of autonomous vehicles is strongly favored by customers, as many want smart headlights, night vision, lane change assist, traffic jam assist and radar functions. 70 percent of vehicle owners say they would definitely want night vision in their next car, which would help detecting sudden objects in the dark, but interest does wane when the technology is mentioned to often cost $2,000 when specified for a new car.

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