Americans Prefer Google Over Uber for Self-Driving Cars

A new survey of drivers in the U.S. and Europe found that tech giants and traditional automakers are more trusted than Uber and Tesla to bring autonomous vehicles to roads.

Connected car service company Inrix conducted a survey with 5,054 drivers in the U.S, France, Germany, Italy, and U.K., to gauge their usage of connected car functions and interest in autonomous vehicles of the future. Established carmakers and companies such as Google and Apple are being trusted at far higher proportions over new carmakers like Tesla and ridesharing firms like Uber and Lyft.

The U.S. differed by leaning toward tech giants, with 1.4 of them preferring tech giants over automakers. That trend was reversed in Europe with 1.5 preferring auto veterans like Daimler, Ford, and Toyota over tech leaders like Google.

It may have something to do with Silicon Valley giants like Google, its Waymo subsidiary, and Apple being U.S. based companies hiring thousands of Americans. Google has played the leading role in testing out self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

The study also found a generational split similar to what’s being seen in other studies these days. Millennials assume automated vehicles of the future will be much safer than do Baby Boomers in the U.S.

The age factor also played out in in-car data and privacy. For those who don’t trust anyone else having access to their driving data, it’s a real issue for half of those over 60-years old in the study versus a fifth of those under 30.

In the U.S. and Italy, technology companies are more trusted with private data. In France, Germany, and the U.K., automakers are more trusted.

If you take a look at this chart from the Inrix study, you’ll see that U.S. and European survey respondents were similar in overall attitudes on autonomous vehicles and who should build them.


Ridesharing leaders Uber and Lyft obtained the smallest slice of support as makers of autonomous vehicles. Following in a close second is newer carmakers (misspelled in the chart as “Never carmarkers”) that the study identifies as Tesla and “Fisker Motors.” That’s likely referring to Fisker, Inc., and Karma Automotive, two offshoots of the original Fisker Automotive. Both of the new startups have committed to rolling out automated electric cars.

Another telling finding is that the “None of the above” category did well in some countries, especially Germany, where it surpassed tech giants in who should build the autonomous cars.

Survey respondents are utilizing connected car features widely and understand that it will take a few years for autonomous vehicles to make it to roads. Five-to-10 years from now had the broadest level of support in expected timing of the technology showing up. That was the case for all five countries included in the study.

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As for now, the most desired connected car features are stolen vehicle warning and tracking, real time parking availability, emergency service automatic response, road incident alerts and re-routing, and automated breakdown calls.


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