On March 31, Martina Raue, PhD, attended the Societal Implications of Robotics Symposium, sponsored by the Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Researchers invited to present at the symposium were those with work accepted for the Robotics and Policy spotlight issue of Behavioral Science and Policy, an internationally peer-reviewed scientific journal. Dr. Raue gave a talk on trust in relation to technology in general and trust in relation to perceptions of self-driving cars in particular.
For her presentation, Dr. Raue referred to an AgeLab nationwide online survey on trust in self-driving cars. The survey measured people’s trust in organizations and technology in general, in self-driving cars, and in organizations that produce self-driving cars or may produce them in the future. The results of the survey suggest that older generations may not be the most eager to adopt these new technologies. In general, women and those ages 50 and older were less trusting of autonomous vehicles than men and younger generations. The same generational pattern emerged in answers to questions about letting children ride alone in a self-driving car, with younger respondents more likely to agree that they would permit the child to do so. Yet those most likely to benefit from advanced vehicle technologies are individuals ages 50 and older. Not only do self-driving vehicles offer the opportunity for continuous mobility in older age, but the 50-plus generation is also most able to afford them.