Cars of the Future: No Hands Required


Imagine reading up on the latest financial news while you drive to work, but unlike the markets, your car won’t crash.


Once something in a Ray Bradbury story, autonomous cars (you don’t have to brake, accelerate or even steer) could become a reality. Some consumers are even willing to shell out the extra money for this feature, though interest did drop once the price was disclosed, according to a survey by J.D. Powers and Associates.

After learning the estimated market price would be $3,000, one-fifth of vehicle owners said they definitely or probably would purchase an autonomous driving feature in their next vehicle. Before the price was disclosed, interest for the technology was higher(37%).

Jason Chepenik, a managing partner with Chepenik Financial Services in Winter Park, Florida, who drives often for business, liked the idea of autonomous driving. “I wish I had that,” Chepenik told PLANADVISER. Not having to keep his hands on the wheel, he said, would free him to use e-mail or his phone, but “mostly be safe.”

Men are most interested in paying a premium for a car with an autonomous driving feature, followed by drivers between the ages of 18 and 37, and urbanites, according to the survey.

The study also found a lot of interest (41%) in fully autonomous driving among vehicle owners who were attracted to automatic parallel parking.

The study found that vehicle owners are nearly as likely to select fully automated technologies as semi-automated ones, such as emergency stop assist ($800), traffic jam assist ($800) or speed limit assist ($800).

There’s just one thing a so-called autonomous car won’t be able to do: help you pay for gas.