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Survey says: Infiniti, Mercedes owners most likely to embrace automation

Robot Jesus, take the wheel.

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Mercedes is attempting to position itself as a pioneer in semi-autonomous driving with its latest E-Class and its Drive Pilot suite of electronics.


Not everybody is ready for autonomous vehicles. Some folks, especially older ones, would prefer to keep a human set of hands and eyes in control. But it's not a unanimous sentiment by any means. In a recent survey of drivers, it appears that luxury buyers will be among the first to relinquish control.

MaritzCX surveyed more than 12,000 vehicle owners between May and August of this year and found that Infiniti and Mercedes owners are the most likely to purchase self-driving cars, Bloomberg reports. These two marques had around 27 percent of owners saying yes to autonomy, compared to about 21 percent of Toyota owners and 18 to 20 percent of Chevrolet, Honda and Ford owners.

The least interested owners, perhaps not surprisingly, adhere to brands with a long tradition of bootstrap-flavored ad campaigns and vehicles built largely for utility purposes. The two automakers with the lowest chance of purchasing an autonomous vehicle were Jeep and Ram, with fewer than 10 percent of owners willing to let the robot do the driving.

When the dividing lines of automakers were cast aside, some 94 percent of respondents acknowledged that autonomous cars would be coming soon, but more than half aren't chomping at the bit to buy one. When MaritzCX flipped the question and asked owners about a lack of interest in the technology, a majority of Porsche and BMW owners preferred to keep the driving to themselves, which aligns with the idea of "cars for drivers" that both brands push.

While it may take years for the cars to arrive, and even longer for them to earn the public's trust, the benefits of self-driving cars can't be ignored. They can increase mobility options for the elderly and disabled, and by removing the necessity of driving in large swaths of the country, the cars can provide great benefits to road safety, ideally cutting down on fatalities in a big way.