Wish List And Pen

Self-Driving Car Wish List For Teens And Parents

When it comes to a wish list for self-driving cars, teens and parents share some ideas but differ widely on others. This not too surprising fact is the result of a study conducted by the Carnegie Mellon University School of Engineering (CMUSE).

CMUSE surveyed 1,000 people aged 18 – 70 on what types of features they thought should be included in self-driving cars. Parents, overwhelmingly wanted features to control their teen’s driving. Among the features parents wanted to see included in self-driving cars for teens were:

Controls to set speed limit, curfew time and number of passengers.

Eighty-four percent of respondents, including a majority of the youngest drivers, said their self-driving car wish list would include these features. Among the strongest advocates for these features are:

  • People ages 66 to 70 – 91%
  • Women – 87%
  • People ages 18 to 24 – 81%

Controls to limit speed and the number of passengers could save countless lives among teen drivers. Excessive speed and driver distraction are among the top causes of crashes among teen drivers. Passengers are especially dangerous because they create a distracting environment for teen drivers and teen drivers tend to show off and take greater chances by speeding when they have peers as passengers. With the car controlling the speed, the teen driver can blame his slow driving on the car and still save face.

One might wonder why a limit on passengers would be necessary in a self-driving car. Most self driving cars, at least in the beginning, would still require a driver to be alert and take over in the event of a systems failure or where the computer fails to recognize a hazard. The more passengers there are, the more distractions there are for the driver and the greater the chance for a crash.

Curfew times are another good idea. Teens tend to be sleep deprived and falling asleep at the wheel is an all too common occurrence. A car that could keep a teen driver from staying out too late could also save a lot of lives and parent’s frayed nerves.

Control feature to limit the geographic range the car will travel.

Not surprisingly, this is a feature that most parents – men (62%) and women (61%) – want but the idea isn’t too popular among younger drivers with barely half (54%) thinking this feature is a good idea.

Parent text display to communicate with driver

This is another one of those wish list features that showed a large generational divide with 69% of the youngest drivers thinking it a good idea while only 53% of people aged 56 to 65 favored it. Women favored the idea (63%) more than men (57%). However, texting in any fashion whether using a hand-held cell phone or a built-in display screen, isn’t a good idea because it takes the driver’s eyes off the road for too long.

The need for and effectiveness of these wish list features will depend on just how completely autonomous the self-driving cars will be and how secure and hack-proof the control systems are.

Read more: Teens Probably Won’t Like Self-Driving Cars, But Their Parents Will