Most Americans are still not comfortable with the idea of relinquishing their ability to drive for an autonomous future.
Things are still looking rocky for the autonomous car. This past year has been filled with controversy and tragedy for autonomous vehicles, and while car and technology companies are eager to put us all inside a self-driving SUV with a silicon brain, most Americans would rather that not happen.
AAA’s most recent study reports that 71% of Americans are afraid to step foot inside a driverless car. That’s quite the rise from the same study performed last year which reported that 63% of Americans were afraid of being inside an autonomous vehicle but still less than when AAA began performing these surveys, which was 78% in 2017.
The most likely culprit for the drop in consumer sentiment is the string of highly publicized incidents over the past year, with Uber’s fatal accident in Arizona topping the list.
AAA’s study did show that Americans are willing to make baby steps and are more likely to be okay with autonomy if their car already has driver assistance features like lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, or self-parking. If the driver has used one of those driver assist features in the past, they’re 68% more likely to trust an autonomous vehicle.
A slim majority (53%) of Americans are okay with limited-use applications of self-driving vehicles, such as slow-speed shuttles at an airport or amusement park. About 44% are okay with autonomous vehicles being used to deliver food or packages, but as soon as it’s a loved one in an autonomous taxi, that number drops to just 20%.
“Despite fears still running high, AAA’s study also shows that Americans are willing to take baby steps toward incorporating this type of technology into their lives,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Hands-on exposure in more controlled, low-risk environments coupled with stronger education will play a key role in easing fears about self-driving cars.”
Despite their fears, Americans are strangely optimistic on when they’ll be in an autonomous future. Most people (55%) believe that the majority of cars on the road will be able to drive themselves by the year 2029.
(via Motor Trend)