Calling Cars“Self-Driving” May Leave Consumers Asleep at the Wheel

Tech experts are trying to convince people that self-driving cars are the next big thing in transportation. But, for consumers, cars labeled “self-driving,” or “autonomous,” are about as exciting as a long, lonely, coffee-less stretch of Midwestern interstate.

According to a Penn State study that appeared in Science Communications, calling a car, “self-driving,” actually made people less excited about the vehicle. Terms like “autonomous” and “driverless” didn’t do much for the consumers, either. Those terms could even add to consumer confusion about the vehicles, the researchers found. The term, “driverless vehicle,” for example, made some study participants think there was no driver in the car but not necessarily that the car could drive itself. And that’s not going to end well for anyone.