Canadians lack interest in self-driving cars, especially if they can’t drink and drive: Survey

Click to play video: '1 in 4 Canadians say self-driving cars are appealing'
1 in 4 Canadians say self-driving cars are appealing
1 in 4 Canadians say self-driving cars are appealing – Jan 14, 2016

Self-driving cars are becoming more and more pervasive, as many major automakers compete to bring a self-driving car to consumers. This week at the Detroit Auto Show, manufacturers from Ford to General Motors showed off the latest developments to their autonomous vehicles.

And while the auto and tech industries are all abuzz over self-driving vehicles, one big question remains – what do consumers think of the futuristic cars?

Well, it appears that some Canadian consumers might be on board with the idea, if it means they can drink and drive.

According to a new survey conducted by consumer market research firm GFK, just one in four of Canadian drivers find self-driving cars appealing.

But here’s the catch – that number “significantly decreased” once those drivers were told they couldn’t use the self-driving car when drunk.

However, the survey – which polled drivers about their views on connected car technology – was only compiled from answers from 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over.

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READ MORE: How can people safely take control from a self-driving car?

But the survey brings up an important point.

Many may assume “self-driving” car means the human is simply a passenger – that no sort of human interaction is involved in operating the vehicle. However, recent reports show that the high-tech cars are still a long way away from simply being vessels that ship people from point A to point B.

This week California’s Department of Motor Vehicles released a series of reports filed by companies that were given permission to test prototype vehicles in public. The documents summarized instances in which a human driver had to take over due to technology problems or other safety concerns.

Nissan, for example, tested just 1,485 miles in public, but reported 106 cases where the driver had to take control. The automaker has said it plans to have “commercially viable autonomous drive vehicles” by 2020.

READ MORE: Self-driving cars still are still pretty reliant on humans

Google said its cars needed human help 341 times over 424,000 miles. That would be the equivalent of about 10 times per year, given the 12,000 miles the average U.S. vehicle travels annually.

While only 11 of the 341 instances would have caused a crash, it shows that even some of the most tested vehicles still need human interaction as a backup.

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– With files from the Associated Press

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