As much as Generation Y might be pining for self-driving cars, automakers' current slow-go approach is best for the industry, according to research firm J.D. Power and Associates.
Many cars now have elements of the technology that will produce self-driving cars -- collision warning and automatic braking; self-regulating cruise control; sensors to read traffic ahead.
Speaking Tuesday during the Connected Car Expo at the L.A. Auto Show, Renee Stephens, the company’s vice president for U.S. auto quality, cited a steady rise in positive consumer sentiment about such semiautonomous features.
“We really need to get semiautonomous right first," Stephens said. “A cadenced delivery approach is really important. Keep it safe.”
In 2012, J.D, Power reported, about 20% of consumers expressed in interest in self-driving cars. This year, the figure is up to 24%. It’s at 33% for families with children, and tops at 41% among the youngest drivers.
Stephens also pointed out that consumers' definition of self-driving doesn’t quite square with automakers' plans for the future.
The most prevalent definition of self-driving among consumers would have them “completely detached” from the driving experience, but the future will likely require them to be somewhere between “engaged” and “at the ready” to take control, she said.