Intel has big plans for self-driving cars, but public opinion stands in the way. The company, which has announced a slew of partnerships–including a collaboration with BMW–believes the technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. In fact, it’s almost ready to go to market. The next huge hurdle is getting people to feel safe in autonomous vehicles.
Today, its chief systems architect, Jack Weast, released the results of some internal research, which detailed consumers’ reservations with self-driving technology. Specifically it delved into the trust issues that are causing people to pause before riding in a self-driving car.
The research, which Intel described as a “limited, qualitative study,” surveyed people who had no experience with autonomous vehicles. “They were invited to take a ride in a driverless test car in exchange for their feedback about the experience,” writes Weast, and the company evaluated their responses around different situations where trust is needed.
Many participants in the research indicated they are apprehensive about trusting computers over human judgment during very specific driving situations–such as when a jaywalker appears. They also showed anxiety about riding in a vehicle that had traditional control designs being led by a computer (for example, a steering wheel moving on its own). Which means that these cars will likely have new designs and controls to better ease passengers.
Last month, Weast spoke with Fast Company‘s Sean Captain about the road ahead for autonomous vehicles. “It comes to human psychology, really,” he said. “One of the things that’s really crucial is bi-directional, open communication of what somebody’s doing and why.”