Public Perception of Self-Driving Technology for Long-Haul Trucking and Last-Mile Delivery

September 5, 2017 (2017RARC003)

  • A large majority of Americans say they believe self-driving cars will be used for delivery and transportation within the next 10 years, but they are split over whether they like the idea — many are concerned about the concept’s safety.
  • The more people know about self-driving vehicles, the more they tend to like the idea and believe in its potential safety benefits.
  • USPS may be able to enhance its brand by implementing self-driving technology, but the public lacks faith that USPS could successfully deploy the concept.

Some of the world’s biggest automakers and tech giants are investing billions of dollars in the development of self-driving vehicles — and no wonder. They are each vying for a piece of a market featuring technology that promises fewer accidents, less traffic, greater fuel efficiency, and more free time for commuters. As a result, that market is predicted to explode in the coming decades.

Despite these advantages, the public has been far more ambivalent about self-driving vehicles than the corporate world. This should be of concern not only to automakers, but also to commercial fleet operators that are likewise subject to the whims of public opinion. In order to understand how the public might react to self-driving postal vehicles, the OIG administered an online survey targeting a nationally representative sample of 18-75 year-old residents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in April 2017. The goal was to gauge public perception of driverless technology for two different applications: self-driving long-haul trucks transporting mail and packages over highways, and self-driving delivery vehicles performing last-mile delivery.

To help different audiences find the information most useful for them, the reporting for this project has been divided into three shorter, separate products:

Summary Report: Overview that includes national results.

Detailed Subgroup Findings Report: Deep dives into the data to explore any geographical, generational or urban/rural differences in public perception.

Methodology Report: Details on how the data were collected.

Source: USPS Office of Inspector General

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