Canadians Remain Concerned about Autonomous Vehicles Says CAA

Published: April 20, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



It is not only government authorities and industry experts who are still worried about driverless cars, it seems Canadians are too. Nearly two-thirds of all Canadians asked by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) said they would not trust an autonomous vehicle to driver on its own.

The CAA said on Monday that 63 per cent of those polled said they would not feel comfortable if they were in a self-driving vehicle. The research showed that Canadians are worried about such things as hacking and data theft as possible issues while using autonomous transport. Other concerns raised included who would be accountable in the event of an accident.

Accountability is a hot topic as self-driving vehicles get closer to launching to consumers. It is widely believed that manufacturers will take the burden of liability, but until that grey area is sewn up, consumers remain wary.

The CAA survey was conducted between 2,090 Canadians that the association says represent a breadth of Canadian demographics. The organization said the sample would yield a margin of error of ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

So, Canadians are clearly worried about the advent of autonomous vehicles, but does that mean they do not want the technology? Not quite, with most people asked thinking driverless cars will have benefits, especially in terms of reducing road accident rates around the country. 57 per cent of those surveyed said in 10 years they think they would be able to trust self-driving vehicles as the technology improves.

“Canadians clearly see the potential,” said Jeff Walker, vice president of public affairs for CAA National, in the release. “We are just not there yet.”

The province of Ontario has recently given permission for self-driving vehicles to be tested on public roads, while the first cars are expected to be launched on the market in 2017. However, full autonomy is not expected until at least a decade.