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Photo via Medium/Google Self-driving car project.
Little guy doesn’t stand a chance. (Photo via Medium/Google Self-driving car project).

Self-driving cars are supposed to herald a utopia for energy efficiency, reduced traffic, commuter productivity, and … people with road rage?

A new study, from The London School of Economics and Goodyear, found that aggressive drivers will likely take advantage of safety-conscious autonomous vehicles (AVs), the latest chapter in academic literature confirming people are the worst.

The study explores drivers’ attitudes toward AVs and though the results were varied and complex, this gem stands out:

“[The AVs are] going to stop, ” said one participant from the U.K. “So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip round.”

Researchers used a combination of focus groups and an online survey of 12,000 drivers in 11 European countries to measure attitudes toward self-driving cars. They found drivers who viewed the road as a social experience and enjoyed interacting with others on the road were more skeptical of AVs. The study calls these more “co-operative drivers.”

“By contrast, the people more open to AVs are those who have a more ‘combative’ view of the road and are more technologically optimistic on average, who perhaps see AVs as easier agents to deal with on the road than other humans,” researchers say, later adding ” Some see AVs as a potential nuisance, while others see an opportunity to take advantage of, or ‘bully’ AVs.”

In other words, combative drivers relish the idea of a playground full of puny self-driving cars to pick on. O brave new world.

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