Almost three-quarters (71 percent) of people are afraid to ride in fully self-driving vehicles, according to the AAA’s annual automated vehicle survey.
AAA believes the key to helping consumers feel more comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles is bridging the gap between the perception of automated vehicle technology and the reality of how it actually works in today’s cars.
“Automated vehicle technology is evolving on a very public stage and, as a result, it is affecting how consumers feel about it,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Having the opportunity to interact with partially or fully automated vehicle technology will help remove some of the mystery for consumers and open the door for greater acceptance.”
AAA says that experience seems to play a key role in impacting how drivers feel about automated vehicle technology. Many cars today are equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which are considered the building blocks for fully self-driving vehicles. AAA’s recent survey revealed that regular interaction with ADAS components like lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and self-parking significantly improves consumer comfort level. On average, drivers who have one of these four ADAS technologies are about 68 percent more likely to trust these features than drivers who don’t have them.
About half (53 percent) of Americans say they are comfortable with low-speed, short distance forms of transportation like people movers found at airports or theme parks while 44 percent are comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles for delivery of food or packages.
“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,” continued Brannon. “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.”