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AAA Study: Most Drivers Still Fear Self-Driving Vehicles

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 08-03-2017 Motor Trend Staff

A year ago, AAA reported that three quarters of Americans were "afraid" to ride in a self-driving car. A year later, three quarters of Americans are still "afraid" of riding in self-driving cars, according tothis year's report.

However, the report also revealed how the majority of U.S. drivers (59 percent) want autonomous technologies in their next car, despite fears of a fully self-driving vehicle. This implies that Americans are ready for autonomous features but are reluctant to give up full control.

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"U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don't work consistently enough to replace a human driver and they're correct," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, in a release. "While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it's important that consumers understand that today's systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel."

Autonomous Testing Nvidia GPU dense PX 2 object recognition © Motor Trend Staff Autonomous Testing Nvidia GPU dense PX 2 object recognition

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Additionally, the survey also found that 54 percent of drivers feel less safe at the idea of sharing the road with self-driving vehicles, with the majority of those being women (58 percent versus 49 percent of men) and Baby Boomers at 60 percent. Only 10 percent of drivers surveyed said they'd feel safer sharing the roads with autonomous vehicles. Millennials were most likely to want autonomous technologies in their next vehicle, with 70 percent saying so, while Baby Boomers were the least likely at 51 percent. Of Americans who fear riding in self-driving cars, women were more likely to be afraid than men (85 percent versus 69 percent) and Baby Boomers (85 percent) were more likely to be afraid than Millennial (73 percent) or Generation X drivers (75 percent).

AAA believes that consumers need to be educated on new autonomous technologies like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology, and lane keeping systems. Previous testing of these systems has shown great promise but also great variation.

According to Jill Ingrassia, AAA's managing director of Government Relations and Traffic Safety, "Every year, we lose approximately 35,000 people on America's roadways, most as a result of human error. Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce this number, and automakers, government agencies, and safety organizations like AAA must continue working together to ensure that these new vehicles are safely tested and deployed."

Source: AAA

GM Autonomous Fleet Vehicle Testing in Michigan 01 © Motor Trend Staff GM Autonomous Fleet Vehicle Testing in Michigan 01


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