Home / Headlines / Headlines Opinion / J.D. Power: Consumers Terrified of Self-Driving Cars; Tesla and Rideshare Screwed

J.D. Power: Consumers Terrified of Self-Driving Cars; Tesla and Rideshare Screwed

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:52 PM
Lawrence Meyers
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:52 PM

Survey and research powerhouse J.D. Power released the results  of its Power Mobility Confidence Index, and the news was terrible for self-driving and electric vehicles. That, in turn, means bad news for Tesla, Uber, Lyft and other electric car manufacturers.

Nobody Wants Skynet Behind Their Wheel

In short, the J.D. Power survey found that consumers trust auto-driving cars as much as they trust Skynet – the infamous AI network that destroys the human race in “The Terminator” film series.

JD Power’s survey is a confidence index, in which a score between zero and 40 indicates low confidence in whatever matter is being inquired about, a score of 41 to 60 means the public is neutral on the matter, and a score of 61 or higher indicates consumers are positive about the issue.

When it comes to self-driving vehicles as a whole, the J.D. Power confidence score was only 36. The two lowest scores amongst the J.D. Power survey questions were low confidence about the comfort of writing in a self-driving vehicle (which scored 34) and the comfort of being on the road with others in a self-driving vehicle (which scored 35).

Everyone Scared About Robot Safety

When it came to safety, consumers were split 40 percent each on whether self-driving vehicles would improve traffic safety or make it worse. Age demographics didn’t matter too much on this count, with about 50 percent of both the younger and older generations in the J.D. Power survey thinking safety would be better (and therefore, 50 percent thought it would be worse).

Digging deeper into the safety category, consumers expressed a lot of worry about multiple aspects of auto-driving safety. Maybe Tesla’s auto-driving engineers got word of this survey and that’s why they bolted!

71 percent of consumers said they were the most worried about technology failures occurring. 57 percent were fearful of the vehicle they were driving being hacked, and 55 percent were concerned about liability should there be a collision.

The safety concerns are so widespread that 39 percent of consumers said they are not excited about any form of self-driving technology, and that includes public transit and delivery service.

A Whisper of Good News

Still, there is some good news. About two-thirds of those surveyed said they were more hopeful than worried about the overall benefit of technology in their lives. Two-thirds of those surveyed also admitted they had little to no knowledge about self-driving vehicles.

That would imply that the concerns over safety may be skewed due to a lack of education.

These results are of great concern to companies like Tesla and other electric vehicle car manufacturers.

As it is, Tesla is starting to push away from the midpriced sedan consumer and towards a wealthier clientele.

A lack of enthusiasm over electric vehicles in the first place does not bode well for future sales. If 50 percent of the older generation, who has more disposable income and therefore more likely to buy a Tesla, distrust self-driving vehicles, that’s not going to help Tesla either.

The same goes for other electric vehicle car manufacturers. What this means is all of these entities need to better educate the public regarding electric vehicle usage as well as self-driving capabilities in the future.

But Uber and Lyft Are Screwed

This is also bad news for Uber and Lyft. both companies presently give up the vast majority of revenue to the drivers. As it is, price wars are forcing both companies to subsidize every ride.

Getting rid of drivers and replacing them with robots is still many years off, but based on JD Powers survey results, the use of rideshare will dramatically decline because people don’t trust Skynet – operated vehicles.


And why should they? The technology is nowhere close to being ready or accepted. Not to mention that insurance companies will have a hard time signing on.