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Transportation The Almighty Buck

Most Drivers Would Hand Keys Over To Computer If It Meant Lower Insurance Rates 449

Posted by samzenpus
from the save-a-buck dept.
Lucas123 writes "Most drivers would consider buying an autonomous vehicle if it meant their insurance rates would be reduced by 80%, a new survey of 2,000 licensed drivers found. Oddly enough, the survey by the online consumer insurance site Car insurance.com also showed that 75% of respondents think they could drive a car better than a computer. Another 64% said computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making as human drivers. And 75% would not trust a driverless car to take their children to school. The survey also asked what commuters would be doing if a computer handled the driving: More than one-in-four would text/talk with friends; 21% would read; 10% would sleep; 8% would watch movies; 7% would play games; and 7% would work. The rest of those surveyed said they'd just watch the scenery blow by."
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Most Drivers Would Hand Keys Over To Computer If It Meant Lower Insurance Rates

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  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:00PM (#45351173)

    If car auto-pilot is like auto-correct, we're all going to die in really funny ways. No matter what the results of this survey say.

    • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:05PM (#45351229) Journal

      "Lake street. No, no, Lake street. Aiiiiiiiii *splash*"

      90% of people think they're in the top 10% of drivers. Ask if they feel safer with a computer driving, most will say no. Ask if they feel safer if everyone else had a computer driving, most will say yes.

      Watch for this in the marketing when self-driving cars come to market (we'll see if Nissan hits their 2020 goal). The pitch will be all about ways it makes you safer despite you, personally, being the bestest driver evar. Plenty of ads showing loaning the car to your teenager, no doubt.

      • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:47PM (#45351705) Homepage

        I think I'm at best an average driver. Whole stretches of the road seem to disappear and all I can recall is the story I was listening to or the thing I was thinking about. Anyway, I hate driving and would jump at the chance to be a passenger.

        • I'm the opposite. Since I learned to drive a decade ago, I've found myself unable to stand being a passenger in a moving vehicle. I'm not a great driver, but I'm nowhere near as dumb as some drivers out there. I am, however, a terrible passenger!
      • by JustOK (667959) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:14PM (#45351947) Journal

        I'd say a little less than half are below average.

        • by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @12:19AM (#45353291)

          Common misconception. It's actually entirely possible than 90% of drivers are above average... If 10% of drivers crash the very second they start the engine.

          You can infer nothing at all about the percentage that are below average from that stat, beyond "it's less than 100%, and more than 0%".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        That is why all of the cities will have to be replanned. "Take me to Sector 4, Zone 345." It will sound cooler and more futuristic too.
      • by istartedi (132515)

        "Lake street. No, no, Lake street. Aiiiiiiiii *splash*"

        90% of people think they're in the top 10% of drivers. Ask if they feel safer with a computer driving, most will say no. Ask if they feel safer if everyone else had a computer driving, most will say yes.

        So if I'm reading this right, the driver in your example ends up in Lake Wobegone.

      • by DeathElk (883654)

        99.9 percent of drivers are absolute selfish shit, myself included.

    • by WarJolt (990309)

      When a person does it it's negligence. When a computer does it it's funny.
      If no one ever got hurt in car accidents, the cause of most car accidents would be funny.
      I'd pay to see robots get drunk and smash into each other.

    • by jonsmirl (114798)

      Only if the cars are running Windows.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      If car auto-pilot is like auto-correct, we're all going to die in really funny ways. No matter what the results of this survey say.

      Unless of course, you are on the presidential hit list, then auto correct would be apropos.

    • If car auto-pilot is like auto-correct, we're all going to die in really funny ways. No matter what the results of this survey say.

      Or if it is navigated by Apple Maps. Lots of potential for error here.

  • lower insurance? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xicor (2738029) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:02PM (#45351199)
    lol... please... if everyone on the road had a robot driving the car, we wouldnt have need for car insurance. also, it isnt the insurance that would get me to have a robotic car, but the fact that i can play video games while it drives me places.
    • by a.d.trick (894813) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:09PM (#45351277) Homepage
      Car insurance would still exist. Robot cars won't stop vandalism.
      • by Xeno man (1614779)
        Or acts of god. Or stupid people around your parked car. "Hey! A baseball, hold my beer and watch this..."
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by cheater512 (783349)

          Yeah but a car that could self evacuate from a cyclone would certainly lower premiums by a lot more than 80%.

          • Yeah but a car that could self evacuate from a cyclone would certainly lower premiums by a lot more than 80%.

            As your are walking to it to evacuate yourself... I think the liability lawsuits might be worse...

          • Re:lower insurance? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:15PM (#45351957)

            Yeah but a car that could self evacuate from a cyclone would certainly lower premiums by a lot more than 80%.

            Do you have a citation that shows that such a large percentage of auto insurance claims comes from cars that are damaged in cyclones? For cyclone avoidance to cause such a large decrease in premiums, cyclones would have to create 80% of the damage.

            You also might want to consider the liability created by an autonomous vehicle that "self evacuates" from any dangerous situation. The people it leaves behind when it decides to scoot out of danger may feel like suing the auto manufacturer for damages to them. You know how bad it will look for the big bad auto company when someone goes to court and testifies "When the warning horns started going off we picked up to leave. That stinking car had its own NOAA receiver, got the SAME alert before we did, and when the family and I went to the garage to evacuate that bugger had already left..."

          • by lordofthechia (598872) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:33PM (#45352081)

            The car owner walks out with their family, a suitcase full of whatever clothes they can gather, food for the trip, toys, and of course the family albums.

            A sudden panic overtakes him as he realizes his car is no longer where he left it. He frantically looks up and down the street to no avail. Finally he pickups up his phone to call the police when he sees a message:

            Message from: FamilyCarAutodrive. Received at 8:01pm. "I told you motherfuckers I was out of here at 8'o'clock!"

      • Car insurance would exist, but it would not necessarily be mandatory.
        Only third party insurance is mandatory in most states (and indeed most countries) -ie - someone has to pay if you drive a $2000 car onto a million dollar Bugatti. If your $2000 dollar car was vandalized once every 20 years or so, you may decide that you don't need to cover that.
        This is what I do - cover through insurance all the damage I might do to others, but buy a car cheap enough that I don't need to worry about cost of damage to
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes you would. However good the programming is, there's no such thing as a zero accident rate. Tyres will blow out at the wrong moment, a tree will blow over on a car occasionally. The car manufacturers won't be paying the medical bills (or if they have to the prices of cars will go up astronomically, effecitvely to cover what the owners would otherwise pay in insurance). The way it will work is, car owners will get insurance based on the average accident rate of the model of autonomous car they own (and

    • by FridayBob (619244)

      lol... please... if everyone on the road had a robot driving the car, we wouldnt have need for car insurance.

      Car insurance doesn't just cover the financial consequences of your own mistakes. You forgot about things like theft, intentional and unintentional mistakes by other people, as well as acts of nature (hail storms, flooding, collisions with wildlife), all of which can be very expensive for you unless you are properly insured. For driverless cars the insurance would also have to take into account the possibility that certain software errors could have costly consequences.

      Nevertheless, with no possibility f

    • by stinerman (812158) <nathan DOT stine AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:12PM (#45351933) Homepage

      We will not have a robot driving the car (or a computer) for a very long time.

      People's cognitive biases are such that they overestimate the amount of risk involved in driving when they are in control (hence everyone saying they're above average in driving ability). Even then, there will be laws against such things. If, due to a software bug, 1 person died per day in a car accident, the cars would be classified as death traps in the media and in government. Of course, the fact that 32,367 people died in vehicle deaths in 2011 wouldn't matter. People will be able to handle 30,000 people per year dying due to driver error. They won't be able to handle 300 people dying per year due to software error.

  • I, for one. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:04PM (#45351227) Homepage Journal

    Hell, I'd almost pay higher premiums for the computer to do the driving.

  • You mean people will choose to save money while increasing their overall safety if statistically proven? Holy shit.. Next thing you will tell me is people will take medicine to save their lives. Crazy times we are living in these days.
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:34PM (#45351547)

      You mean people will choose to save money while increasing their overall safety if statistically proven?

      You seem to have missed the part in which most people were of the belief that they would be decreasing their overall safety in exchange for more money. That's what it means when 75% believe that they would be better drivers for their children than an autonomous car and yet 75% would still take the money.

      At the most extreme disjoint of the two sets, that means that 50% of people believe that letting a car drive their children to school would put them at higher risk, and yet they'd do it anyway for money. At least 2/3 of all the people who said yes, and it's likely more because there have to be at least some people who think it would be safer and who wouldn't do it in spite of the money for other unknown reasons.

      That's kind of horrifying, actually, regardless of what you think about auto-drive.

      • At the most extreme disjoint of the two sets, that means that 50% of people believe that letting a car drive their children to school would put them at higher risk, and yet they'd do it anyway for money.

        Have you not seen what parents will do to get on reality TV? This is no surprise at all.

      • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:24PM (#45352017)

        ... and yet 75% would still take the money.

        TFA says that 35% would "take the money". It says that 90% would consider it. Part of "considering it" is "would I let the car take the kids to school", and 75% say "no". That 75% have at least three options: don't buy an autonomous car, buy an autonomous car as a second vehicle (so they own two cars) and take the kids to school in the manual car, or replace their existing car with an autonomous car and home school.

        The rich ones will have two cars. That won't save them on their insurance, it will actually go up. The poor ones will not be able to afford to have two, they'll have to pick -- and they'll probably keep the car they have because it is paid off and they can't afford a new one.

        At the most extreme disjoint of the two sets, that means that 50% of people believe that letting a car drive their children to school would put them at higher risk, and yet they'd do it anyway for money.

        TFA does not support that conclusion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Valdrax (32670)

          Ah, nuts. I got caught out reading the summary and not the article before posting.
          When will I learn not to trust summaries...

    • by JWW (79176)

      Heck forget lower premiums, I'd hand over the keys to a computer so I could take a nap.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:10PM (#45351281)

    Another 64% said computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making as human drivers.

    That's right. Based on my observations of human drivers (not to mention traffic fatality statistics and the nightly "single vehicle accident" reports), the quality would consistently be better. Don't mod me funny, please. I'm not joking.

    • One situation where this is undoubtedly the case is people with a second offense of DWI. Start with those, and even a computer controlled wreck or two will be an improvement.
  • by mishehu (712452) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:13PM (#45351307)
    Think of what most people do every day in a car... They get into it, sit in a traffic jam for hours as their lives waste away. Having a computer-driven car would be the best of both worlds - the convenience of not having to drive yourself or pay attention to the road, coupled with the convenience of because able to go directly from point A to point B at your convenience. I too would opt for this convenience if it was a mature enough technology.
    • by zlives (2009072)

      as long as i could disable it during times where i wanted to enjoy the drive.

    • by Ichijo (607641)

      Traffic jams only exist where the price of accessing the road is below market equilibrium at that particular time and place. That's easy to fix even without self-driving cars, and it would provide a revenue source to increase throughput or lower taxes.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @09:00PM (#45352239)

        Sweet! Let's apply (one sided) market principles to a captive audience in order to lessen the inconvenience on the more affluent. Once all of those annoying poor folk can't afford to commute to work, we won't have to wait behind them in traffic. If we want to keep chasing that revenue stream, we can re-engineer all of the routes for the sole purpose of maximizing revenue. We can pretend that's it's a free market by saying, "you can leave at any time."

        Bonus points on the textbook application of rent seeking.

      • Actually, it is a trade-off between cost of real estate and cost of time in most places. In NY for example, housing is very expensive. So millions commute to the city, but far less actually live there. People are OK spending 3-4 hours in traffic or in trains because increased rentals in NY are more expensive than the money they could make by working those 3-4 hours.
        NY city actually wants exactly this, so they subsidize the trains, encouraging people to commute in. If they increased prices and imposed toll
  • by IonOtter (629215) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:14PM (#45351319) Homepage

    Quite frankly, I would not object to this, provided we have a choice of purchasing it. (There would be privacy issues I'd like to see addressed prior to buying, and if I don't like what I see, I'd prefer to not be forced into it.)

    If I could hand over the driving to the computer when I'm doing a long-distance drive, ESPECIALLY when driving on a major highway that goes through a metropolitan area like Washington DC, I would be all over that. If for no other reason that a computer will not succumb to "Brake Light Accordion Games", where the idiot ahead of me rides with their left foot on the brake.

    I hate drivers that do that. They cause all the drivers behind them to step on their brakes, which causes a ripple-effect all they way back, resulting in a 3-mile stretch of highway where traffic is moving at a snail's pace, but there are no obstructions of any kind.

    That reason alone is more than sufficient reason to turn driving over to a computer. I could hop on to the I-95 auto-drive lane and say, "Self-drive off. Destination Boston, Massachusetts." And just go to sleep for the duration of most of the drive.

    Heck, if it's a Tesla, I could set it up to automatically drive into a SwapStation to change out the battery without even waking me up!

  • by djmurdoch (306849) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:15PM (#45351321)

    This seems to me to be a completely rational point of view:

      - I think I am a better driver than a computer.

      - I think insurance companies are not going to reduce my premiums if I let a computer drive my car, because I'm a safer driver than a computer would be.

      - You say they'll reduce my premiums by 80%? Well, maybe I was wrong, and I'll actually trust the computer to drive. After all, insurance companies aren't going to reduce my premiums by 80% unless the risk from claims is reduced by at least that much.

    • by stymy (1223496) <pdezuviria@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:35PM (#45352095)
      In fact, your local Department of Insurance wouldn't allow the insurance company to lower premiums by that much unless there was very strong evidence that the computers would cut claims by at least that. (Rules like that are so that Ponzi schemes can't disguise themselves as insurance companies. That is, a company could undercut all its competition massively without the regulations, and it could pocket big profits in the short term, but long term, as the bulk of the covered people die, and so forth, it would go broke.)
  • I hate driving in traffic. If I could just sit there and let a computer do it for me while I surf the web or something, I'd be a lot happier.

  • I want robot cars because I am pretty sure that one will not pull out backwards from an angled-in spot WITHOUT LOOKING BACK or start forward at a red light BEFORE MAKING SURE THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU IS MOVING or sideswipe a parked car in Brooklyn at 3 am going 80 MILES AN HOUR ON A TINY ONE WAY STREET.

    Thanks for listening to these true stories. I have to go call the body shop to see if my car is ready.
  • Reality check here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by volkerdi (9854) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @07:22PM (#45351399)

    The question will actually be more like "would you keep driving manually if it meant 80% higher insurance rates?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, in this case it would be 400% higher.

  • insurance rates would be reduced by 80%

    Pollsters failed to quantify the opinions of drivers when asked whether they expect to receive an 80% reduction in rates by adopting automated vehicles; respondents were unable to breathe due to convulsive laughter.

  • I love driving in general but I hate driving to work in the morning traffic. If I could push a button and have the car drive itself while I troll slashdot, it would make the commute much easier.

  • How about if the car lets me drive and lets me decide whether I want it to keep me from doing dangerous things (tailgating, backing into objects, changing lanes into other cars, ramming the car in front of me while I adjust the radio, etc.).
  • Sadly in Texas there is a minimum you must pay regardless of how much of a risk you are. For example, if you fit within the age group least likely to have an accident, have never had a ticket, have never been in an accident, and never drive outside of the state, you will never be able to reduce your rate to below $35/mo. The only way to pay no insurance is to have a $250k bond, or own a fleet of 25 vehicles, or own a farm and the vehicle is used for "husbandry". The second bit is from back when the law w

  • 75% of respondents think they could drive a car better than a computer.

    Yes, and a similar proportion in a different poll stated they believed they were safer than than average drivers.

    This poll has all sorts of cognitive bias problems.

  • Oddly enough, the survey by the online consumer insurance site Car insurance.com also showed that 75% of respondents think they could drive a car better than a computer. Another 64% said computers were not capable of the same quality of decision-making as human drivers. And 75% would not trust a driverless car to take their children to school.

    Something like Most Drivers Are Not Ready To Hand The Keys Over To A Computer would've been more appropriate.

  • johnny cab now fire free

  • by fox171171 (1425329) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @08:10PM (#45351915)

    ...what commuters would be doing if a computer handled the driving: More than one-in-four would text/talk with friends; 21% would read; 10% would sleep; 8% would watch movies; 7% would play games; and 7% would work. The rest of those surveyed said they'd just watch the scenery blow by."

    So essentially the same as what most of them are doing now, based on casual observations.

  • "The survey also asked what commuters would be doing if a computer handled the driving:"

    Yes, if only there were some way to put a person in a moving vehicle, without having them actually drive it, and observe them. Clearly that's impossible, so let's pose this hypothetical question.
  • If the computer is driving, I call SHOTGUN!

  • If all the cars on the road are driverless then the car companies will probably start giving away full liability as part of the purchase. They will have a full record of any accident with all the cameras and whatnot plus an active interest in analyzing any accident so as to upgrade their software to prevent it from happening again. Plus driverless cars will basically stop causing accidents pushing the laws to eliminate the fundamentally homicidal act of driving a manual car. All that will be left to insure
  • Not only would I have a robotic car if my insurance rates went down 80%--I'd gladly pay double the insurance to have a robotic car. All the wasted time driving--would love to not have to physically do the driving!
  • I am fascinated that 75% of respondents think they could drive a car better than a computer. Personally I suffer from the Inverse Dunning-Kruger effect: I sincerely hope that a majority of people drive better than I!

    I can't wait for the self-driving car. Though I suspect the Google self-driving cars will be free, but if I want to drive to a restaurant it will just "happen" to drive by McDonald's and will offer me a coupon.

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