Driverless cars were an idea long thought of with innovation in technology. They were expected to reduce road accidents and traffic congestion and increase accessibility. However, a recent driverless car experiment that took place in San Francisco didn’t go according to expectations.

Autonomous vehicles were seen as the most significant technological invention by 36.56% according to a Real Research survey. Yet since the experiment began, a number of incidents have occurred that have threatened the revolution of driverless cars.

Recently, regulators in San Francisco voted to let driverless cars from two autonomous vehicle companies test on the streets. The vehicles don’t need any human assistance as they are one hundred percent driverless and only require software and sensors to operate.

Shortly after the decision, San Francisco’s Department of Motor Vehicles demanded one of the companies take 150 cars off the road due to a crash with a fire engine. It has been reported that 600 incidents were logged due to driverless cars, which included illegal maneuvers or expected stops. There were many cases where passengers got stuck inside the vehicles when they malfunctioned.

The adoption of self-driving vehicles is getting criticism from a group of anti-driverless car activists. The activities placed cones on the cars’ bonnets to disable them; the cone would confuse the vehicle’s sensors and lead to them shutting down completely.

There are many opinions on the topic, and Real Research, an online survey app, launched a survey on the safety of driverless cars to gauge public opinion.


  • 63.25% were comfortable with the idea of driverless cars sharing the road with human-driven vehicles.
  • Adoptive AI shows potential for reducing traffic congestion, said 46.57%
  • Almost half (42.27%) said driverless cars have the potential to reduce accidents compared to human-driven vehicles.

Awareness of Fully Driverless Cars:

The concept of fully driverless cars is considered well-known among many people; 48.75% were well aware of it, and 41.8% were vaguely familiar with the idea. In contrast, only 9.45% didn’t know much about cars.

Autonomous vehicle companies claim driverless cars would be safer on the streets than having people behind the wheel. According to these companies, driverless cars do not speed, drive drunk, or get tired.

The idea of driverless cars sharing the road with human-driven vehicles was deemed comfortable by 32.76% and very comfortable by 30.49%, and 19.21% didn’t have an opinion on the matter. 14.98% seemed uncomfortable with the idea, and 2.56% were very uncomfortable.

Figure 1: Respondents’ comfort level with the idea of driverless cars sharing the road with human-driven vehicles

Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles:

The vehicle companies claimed that autonomous driving will reduce traffic congestion, and adoptive AI learning shows potential for reducing it, according to nearly half (46.57%). Third (31.77%) weren’t sure about AI learning impact, and 21.66% didn’t believe AI adopting learning could reduce traffic congestion.

Other than reducing traffic congestion, 42.27% believed that driverless cars have the potential to reduce accidents compared to human-driven vehicles. 34.15% weren’t sure, and 23.58% opposed.

The cars are now under experimentation and aren’t commercially available yet, but once they are, 44.92% seem to be in favor of traveling in a fully autonomous vehicle. The idea didn’t seem convincing to 31.82%, and the other 23.26% weren’t willing to try it.

Figure 2: Participants’ willingness to travel in a fully autonomous vehicle once they are commercially available

The right balance between technology and human control in cars is controversial, but manual driving with basic AI assistance seems to be the public’s first choice (39.08%). Following closely, an interest in moderate AI intervention got the support of 20.25%, a higher degree of automaticity attracted 18.71%, and 8.24% expressed uncertainty regarding the ideal balance. Levels 4 and 5, which represent increasing levels of automation, struck the right balance between technology and human control, according to 7.18% and 6.54%, respectively.

Read Also: Public Perception on Autonomous Vehicles

Figure 3: The level that strikes the right balance between technology and human control. 5 = fully automated driving and 1 = manual driving with basic AI assistance

Is the World Ready for Driverless Cars?

A driverless car executive believes that the number of incidents shows that fully automated vehicles aren’t ready to function independently. He said, “We are unnecessarily putting the public at risk; really, in these trials, they are effectively human guinea pigs.”

David Chiu, San Francisco’s city attorney, launched a legal battle to block these companies’ permits, and another local politician planned to appeal them. From different viewpoints, many incidents caused by vehicles indicate that the wider adoption of self-driving vehicles in the future will need a lot of work. If it happened, almost half (41.92%) were neutral to it, 37.95% supported it, and 20.13% opposed it.


Survey TitleSurvey on the Safety of Driverless Cars
DurationAugust 25 – September 1, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.