Survey finds Canadians want regulatory reviews for autonomous vehicles and drones

Published: May 25, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Canadians want regulatory reviews of autonomous vehicles, drones, and online user agreements more than other emerging technologies, a new report from professional services company Accenture suggests.

Ipsos I-Say conducted a survey for Accenture, interviewing a sample of 1,003 Canadians to determine their opinion on government regulation of innovative, emerging, and advanced technologies. Accenture points out in a press release that results are accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The results of the survey show that four in 10 (40%) of respondents said “drones equipped with video cameras” should be under government regulatory review. 38% of those asked said that both autonomous vehicles and online user agreements for new products or services should be the focus of regulatory reviews.

Other priority areas for Canadians are connected homes (connected lights, baby monitors, alarms, etc.), with 30% of respondents saying they should be regulated. Social media and advertising claimed 26%, ridesharing services like Uber also took 26%, and sharing accommodations like Airbnb took 23%.

The firm points out that numerous governments bodies in Canada of already started regulations for many of the technologies listed in the survey. Canadians think the government should apply more regulations to drones and autonomous vehicles (each cited by 64% of respondents), followed by ridesharing services (51%), quasi-currencies like Bitcoin (49%), and online user agreements (46%).

“Canadians expect governments to step in and mitigate some of the risks associated with new products and services,” said Dave Telka, a managing director at Accenture and head of Public Service practice in Canada. “With new, disruptive players quickly entering the market, governments must work with business to provide assurance that there is a regulatory process that creates the best situation for Canadians.”