Survey: People plan to read, work, have sex, and pray in self-driving cars

February 9, 2017

Like washing machines, typewriters, sporks, and other technological marvels, self-driving cars are supposed to make life easier for us poor, beleaguered human beings. They promise to cut traffic accidents and fatalities, offer independence to the elderly and disabled, dial down travel times, minimize air pollution, and reduce our need to own so many vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles also promise to make life less stressful for drivers by taking on the driving duties themselves. Which raises a very important question: when drivers are allowed to sit back and take their eyes off the road, what are they going to do with all that spare time?

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The folks at Auto Insurance Center wondered the same thing, and so, they conducted a completely non-scientific survey to find out. The site polled more than 2,000 drivers worldwide, asking them what they might do behind the wheel of an autonomous car. Here are some of the top answers:

1. Read a book
2. Talk on the phone or texting
3. Work
4. Watch TV
5. Watch a movie
6. Eat
7. Play videogames
8. Sleep
9. Have sex
10. Pray
15. Do drugs

(FWIW, in the U.S., "engage in sexual activity" was the #1 answer in one state: Alaska. Meanwhile, "eat" was the #1 answer only in North Dakota. What that means, we'll leave to you.)

Another fun fact: despite the fact that Americans seem to be growing more wary of self-driving cars, we're far more adventurous than motorists in Japan. A full 33 percent of Japanese respondents said they wouldn't set foot in an autonomous vehicle. The U.S. and the U.K. tied for second place, with 23 percent of respondents in each country saying that they'd actively avoid self driving cars.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are most open to the idea: just 3.1 percent of Chinese respondents said that they would refuse to ride in an autonomous car. Then again, that's probably to be expected: previous studies have shown Chinese consumers to be pretty welcoming of self-driving cars, and the country's legal system is well-suited to pave way for such vehicles.

Other interesting findings of the survey show that men are significantly more likely to say "yes", they would buy an autonomous car than women (47.4 percent vs. 33.6 percent). And when asked what changes they'd like to see in the interior design of self-driving vehicles, 19.3 percent of respondents requested a refrigerator, 5 percent asked for a fully stocked bar, and a pampered 2.9 percent said that they'd want a massage table. Whether self-driving cars know shiatsu or not remains to be seen.

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