Car Industry

Old man yells at iCloud: J.D. Power study finds aging buyers don't trust autonomy

In a result that should shock approximately zero people, the younger buyers get, the more likely they are to trust self-driving cars and similar tech.

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Tesla Autopilot Display

To be fair, being thrust head-first into new technology and being asked to immediately accept it is not easy for anyone.

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Have you ever helped an elderly individual navigate the Internet? Even after explaining why they're not actually the 1,000,000th visitor to a site, it can be tough bringing people up to speed on technology. It's no surprise, then, that J.D. Power's Tech Choice study came to the same conclusions.

In its second year, the Tech Choice study examines consumer interest in a wide variety of tech. This year, part of the survey asked if buyers trusted self-driving technology. Broken down by generation, 55 percent of Generation Z said yes, compared to 56 percent of Gen Y, 41 percent of Gen X, 23 percent of Baby Boomers and 18 percent of Pre-Boomers.

"When it comes to making the leap to fully automated cars, trust in the technology is directly linked to the age of the consumer," said the most obvious sentence ever put into a press release. When the question was flipped and buyers were asked if they would "definitely not trust" autonomous tech, the older the buyers were, the more likely they were to write off self-driving cars entirely.

Thankfully, no matter how old buyers were, they all shared a concern for tech security, insofar as privacy and hacking are concerned. And customers across a broad age spectrum do show interesting in systems that are rooted in autonomy, such as lane-change assist and adaptive headlights.

But, just like teaching your grandmother to avoid pop-ups, it's going to be a while before she's ready to have a driverless stagecoach drop her off at the Andrews-Sisters-hologram concert.