How many Canadians will drive autonomous cars?

As we edge closer to the reality of driverless cars on the roads, what will the uptake be?

How many Canadians will drive autonomous cars?

Insurance News

By Lucy Hook

While the concept of self-driving cars may be a problematic one for insurers, more and more drivers are looking forward to the day that they fully arrive on the roads.

One in four Canadians “can’t wait” for self-driving cars to become a reality, a new survey has revealed.

The figure – at 26% – is a slight improvement from last year, when 25% of those asked said the same.

Not surprisingly, younger people are most anticipating the technology, with 36% of 18-34 year-olds saying they can’t wait for the day driverless tech becomes available.

While many features of self-driving cars, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) and sensors to avoid collisions, are already a mainstay, fully autonomous vehicles are still fledging – due in no small part to regulatory hurdles.

At the beginning of the month, ride-sharing company Uber was forced to halt testing of its self-driving cars in San Francisco, California, after the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoked registrations for the vehicles, saying the company did not have the necessary state permits for autonomous driving.

And the road to driverless cars has not been without its disasters.

In July last year, 40-year-old Joshua Brown became the first known person to be killed in a crash involving an autonomous vehicle, after he died in an accident while driving a Tesla model in Florida.

Andrew Lo, chief operating officer and tech expert at, said that the insurance industry has been taking note as technology continually improves and innovates.

“Some of these improved safety features have caught the eye of insurers,” Lo said, such as Aviva Canada which recently announced that policyholders who drive vehicles equipped with AEB will be eligible to receive a 15% auto insurance discount.

But despite the progress, completely autonomous driving still seems a while off – both in reality and in the minds of drivers.

80% of those asked said that driverless technology won’t happen for another 15 or more years.

“It’s still a jump for most people to make in terms of going completely driverless, but Canadians are interested in these improved safety features and, as a result, seem willing to slowly adopt more automated functions,” Lo said.

Related stories:
Google unveils self-driving car company
Tech start-up makes self-driving technology open source

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