The idea of autonomous vehicles has been popping up in popular culture for years and they’re easily recognized as the car of the future. But are we really ready for it?

A recent study, conducted by the London School of Economics and Goodyear, polled 12,000 drivers in 11 countries and found that only about 26% of the population is ready to drive an autonomous vehicle while 30% is ready to share the road with one. On the flipside, approximately 45% don’t feel comfortable driving one or driving near one. The rest are just plain unsure.

Comfort and autonomous vehicles

Researchers found that 49 % of respondents felt that autonomous cars are safer because they agreed with statements about most accidents being caused by human error and machines being better drivers than humans because of a lack of emotion. However, the technology is where people start to lose their confidence and 73% of respondents feared that the technology could malfunction. Similarly, 60% felt that machine driven cars sharing the road with human driven cars could prove to be problematic.

Will autonomous vehicles turn people into more aggressive drivers?

The research team also discovered that those who classify themselves as “co-operative” drivers are less open to autonomous vehicles than those who are more “combative.” What this means is that people who are more likely to be pushy on the road (64%) are pretty cool with sharing the road with autonomous vehicles while those who prefer to share aren’t as comfortable.

So, how do you feel about it?

Are you open to the sharing the road with more autonomous vehicles? It’s a question we’re all going to have to face as the technology keeps improving and places such as California have paved the way as far as legislation goes. But still, while companies like Google have done their best to account for most human behaviours (like pushing one’s way into a lane), they still haven’t accounted for everything, so you’ve still got some time to get used to it.

Here’s some food for thought, though: the study found that greater familiarity decreases concerns and increases comfort, so Reading Rainbow really was right and it’s all about the more you know.