The average American spends about 25.4 minutes commuting to work, about an hour a day on the road. When self-driving vehicles become widely available (around 2020) commuters may find themselves with at least an extra 4.23 hours a week. (Find the average commute time in your area right here. I could potentially find myself with an extra 5.8 hours a week!) It’s as if we can finally squeeze more hours out of our day, but will self-driving cars really make us more productive?
Not so, says the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Their report “Would Self-Driving Vehicles Increase Occupant Productivity?” found that for 62% of Americans, self-driving vehicles would likely not result in increased productivity. The reasons?
- 36% would be so apprehensive they would only watch the road
- 23% would not ride driverless vehicles
- 3% would frequently experience some level of motion sickness
For the remaining 38% who would take advantage of this free time:
- 11% would read
- 10% would text or talk with family and friends
- 7% would sleep
- 6% would watch movies or television
- 5% would work
- 2% would play games
We launched our own poll on Twitter to gauge whether drivers embrace the idea of being passengers in driverless cars. Even the results of our own not-so-scientific poll were surprising.
Imagine it's 2026. Fully autonomous cars are EVERYWHERE. Would you opt for a #driverless ride? Or keep on driving with your own two hands?
— The Zebra (@TheZebraCo) November 16, 2016
Only 21% of respondents are interested in becoming full-time passengers in autonomous vehicles, even after the tech has been widely adopted. Yikes!
Motion Sickness in Self-Driving Cars
Motion sickness is a big factor of whether driverless car passengers can be productive. Observer reported on a different study released by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute which broke down which activities people were most interested in engaging while in a self-driving car. Almost all of the activities worsen the frequency and severity of motion sickness. The chart below is an excerpt of the study as published by Observer.
Until we can solve the motion sickness problem, self-driving cars will not make us more productive.
What do you think? Can we be productive passengers in self-driving cars? Or, will we just simply look out the windows as we are chauffeured to our destinations? Tell us in the comments below.
More About Self-Driving Cars
Want to know more about self-driving cars? Some further reading: