A Vast Majority of New Yorkers and Californians Are Gung-Ho for Self-Driving Cars

Folks in Texas and Pennsylvania, however, are a little more wary.

Self-Driving Cars
AP Photo/Tony Avelar

According to a new study that makes us sad for our neighbors, the vast majority of New Yorkers and Californians think self-driving cars will be a great addition to their lives. Luckily, it also found opposing opinions from other states where people aren't as autonomous car-friendly.

According to the survey, commissioned by Volvo and based on data accumulated from almost 50,000 respondents, nine out of ten New Yorkers are warmly awaiting the arrival of fully driverless cars. 86 percent of California residents feel the same way, with both groups saying autonomous vehicles might "make life easier."

On the other hand, Volvo found that folks in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas were less likely than the average American car buyer to believe in the helpful possibilities of autonomous car tech. Just 52 percent of participants from Illinois would feel comfortable letting their autonomous car make safety-oriented driving choices on the road, which is 10 percent less than the national average. 62 percent of Pennsylvanian respondents think self-driving car growth will help prevent car crashes, which is lower than the survey's reported national average of 68 percent. And only 60 percent of respondents from Texas think giving machines more control behind the wheel would keep their families safer, which is nine percent lower than the average figure across the country.

Volvo's report goes on to state that 90 percent of survey respondents feel American legislators are dragging their feet with crafting a solid structure for an autonomous car network. As we already know, this is a long road that American lawmakers have barely started on.

There was one surprising nugget of gold in the survey. Even though a majority in each state supports autonomous driving, 68 percent of those surveyed feel a manual transmission option is a must-have option even in our self-driving car future.

Now, that's all well and good—we at The Drive are definitely part of that manual-loving majority—but can we backtrack to the whole New York thing? Speaking as a New Yorker, sure, self-driving cars might make things "easier"—but your humble scribe is sure as hell are not ready to give up his love of driving just to avoid a little traffic.

Also, does the survey also cover all those upstate New York folk who rarely experience the hellish traffic we have in the city? Yeah, those long and straight interstates can get a bit dull, but we have also first-hand found some amazing driving backroads up there. No need for driverless car tech there. Autonomous cars have incredible potential, sure—but we want to be sure we can still drive when we want to. That cool with everyone?