How safe and secure will flying cars be? An empirical exploratory analysis of public perceptions in the United States

U. Eker, S. Shahriar Ahmed, G. Fountas, S.E. Still, P.Ch. Anastasopoulos
University at Buffalo - The State University of New York, United States

Keywords: Flying cars, Safety and Security, Correlated grouped random parameters, Bivariate probit, Heterogeneity in means

This study investigates the public’s perceptions towards expected safety benefits, potential concerns, and interventions that can potentially help improve the security of future operations of flying cars. Due to the emergent nature and lack of public exposure to this new technology, individuals’ perceptions and opinions regarding flying cars is subject to multi-level effect of unobserved factors varying systematically across observations or groups of observational units, commonly known as unobserved heterogeneity (e.g., commonly shared unobserved characteristics across interrelated perceptions, grouped effects, interactive effects). To account for such multiple layers of heterogeneity, grouped random parameters bivariate probit and correlated grouped random parameters probit models with heterogeneity in means of individuals’ perceptions and opinions are estimated, using data collected from an online survey of 584 individuals located in the United States. The statistical analysis reveals that a number of individual-specific socio-demographic, behavioral and driving attributes affect respondents’ perceptions towards the safety aspects of flying cars, along with their attitudes about potential future security interventions. Despite the lack of familiarity of flying cars among the public, this study can provide manufacturers, policy-makers and legislative entities with valuable information for marketing and law enforcement before the inevitable emergence of flying cars in the traffic fleet.