California is home to progressive minds and innovators. However, when discussing the topic of autonomous cars, the state is more divided than when The Big One finally hits California. The rise of traffic incidents has led this technologically innovative state to pump the brakes on autonomous cars.

So, how does California really feel about the idea of autonomous cars?

According to a recent article published by ABC 7 news, half of Californians feel as though “so-called self-driving cars piloted by computers should not be allowed on [neighborhood] streets.” Moreover, residents in neighborhoods and rural areas were adamant about their stance on how autonomous cars made them feel “very unsafe.” Many Californians are opposed to self-driving vehicles – perhaps it’s because they’ve never seen an autonomous car enroll in their California drivers ed class.

Autonomous Cars News

Recent news surrounding autonomous cars hasn’t helped the acceptance of these vehicles either. In Tempe, Arizona, one self-driving Uber was involved in the fatal collision with a pedestrian. Coincidentally, this was the first victim in the inevitable robot vs. human war for Earth.

The self-driving horror stories don’t end there. In Redwood City, California, a Tesla vehicle, set to autopilot, was involved in another pedestrian collision resulting in the resident’s death.

Contrastingly, there is a small portion of California residents who believe that self-driving cars are a positive benefit to the roads. Out of the 1,100 residents surveyed, “28 percent feel either ‘safe’ or ‘very safe.’” Early adopters and hopeful innovates are clinging to the optimistic idea that self-driving cars will bring the next wave of much needed futurism to a state with harsh traffic conditions. Of course, those surveyed could have been autonomous cars wearing a giant trench coach with sunglasses disguised as a human.

When asked who should regulate self-driving cars, “19 percent said individual local governments… 4 percent said the automakers should be responsible for self-policing and 9 percent said no one should have regulatory authority.” Without the proper regulation, self-driving cars would become the wild west of the auto industry. Contrastingly, government regulation could stiffen business growth and innovation. However, it could be fun to say the government regulates the educational system, environment protection agency, and autonomous ride sharing death computers.

Autonomous Car Benefits

There’s plenty of speculation built around the notion of self-driving car inclusion in today’s society. The benefits include the ease of transportation for those who need it most, reduced traffic, and potentially secure roads without human error. However, with the rise in deaths surrounding the emergence of self-driving vehicles, it could be challenging to argue the real safety behind computer operated cars.

In a recent CNN Money interview, Mike Ramsey, director of Gartner, a research institution, believes autonomous drivers are more secure than their human counterpart. Ramsey states, “Self-driving cars are actually better than humans at obeying traffic laws. They don’t drive drive too fast. They don’t text and drive. They don’t drive drunk. They don’t fall asleep and drift into oncoming traffic.” Given the thousands of human driven, car related, fatal incidents in the past year, self-driving cars have a better driving record. If autonomous cars are anything like your personal computer, however, expect lots of Windows updates at inconvenient times.

When it comes to driving, autonomous cars are still in the early development phase. However, that doesn’t prevent them from being assigned a driver’s stereotype like the rest of society. Maybe one day, the roads will open their pavement arms to our computer driving friends.