Imagine if Hollywood decided to remake the 1978 cult classic Convoy. Instead of a hunky actor behind the wheel of the lead truck, you’d have a driverless vehicle rolling this trucking convoy across the U.S.A.

That’s the future of delivery and transportation, as many see it. Automakers and tech giants, such as Google and Uber, are investing billions of dollars in the development of self-driving vehicles — and no wonder. They are vying for a piece of a market featuring technology that promises fewer accidents, less traffic, greater fuel efficiency, and more free time for commuters. What’s not to like?

A large majority of Americans say they fully expect self-driving cars and trucks will be used for delivery and transportation within the next decade. However, many are concerned about safety.

Businesses have to be concerned with public opinion. If the public balks at sharing the road with these vehicles, regulatory approval could be slowed or a company’s brand could be hurt. This includes the U.S. Postal Service.

To understand how the public might react to self-driving postal vehicles, we administered a targeted, online, nationwide survey to a representative sample of U.S. residents in April 2017.

Among the key findings:

  • While a large majority of Americans are aware of the idea of self-driving cars, few know about their possible use for trucking or last-mile delivery, and even fewer are convinced of the potential benefits.
  • After learning about the idea, a large majority of Americans say they believe self-driving cars will be used for delivery and transportation within the next 10 years.
  • The public is very concerned about the safety of self-driving vehicles.
  • Millennials and urban residents like the idea of self-driving trucks more than their older or rural counterparts.
  • The more people know about self-driving vehicles, the more they tend to like the idea.
  • USPS can enhance its image as an innovative organization by implementing self-driving technology, but the public lacks faith USPS could successfully deploy it.

You can find the information from this survey in three shorter, separate products, including a summary report and a detailed findings report, all available here.

What’s your view of driverless vehicles? Do you expect to be sharing the road with driverless cars and trucks in the near future? Do you have concerns? Do you think the Postal Service should pursue using this technology?

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  • anon

    Absolutely driverless delivery vehicles! Especially if the post office would start delivering to addresses again, like they used to. Please deliver this disabled combat veterans mail. My health depends on paid postal employees doing their job. This is not currently happening.!.

    Sep 15, 2017

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