Wanted but Wary: Drivers Unsure of Self-Driving Cars

AAA survey reveals that Americans still leery of a driverless future

A new report from AAA reveals that the majority of U.S. drivers seek some form of autonomous technology in their next vehicle, but continue to be skeptical of the fully self-driving car.

In 2016, a AAA survey found that three-quarters of Americans reported feeling afraid to ride in fully self-driving cars. One year later, AAA found that those concerns largely remain unchanged despite the prospect that autonomous vehicles will be safer, more efficient and more convenient. The latest survey also found that the majority (59 percent) of Americans are keen to have autonomous features in their next vehicle.

“Autonomous vehicles have the ability to reduce accidents, improve traffic patterns and provide enhanced mobility to seniors and the disabled.” said John Moreno, Manager of Public Affairs for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah. “As this technology becomes more commonplace and improves, so will  public perception. AAA supports the continued advancement of autonomous vehicles and we look forward to working with industry experts and lawmakers and to ensure that this new technology is safely tested and deployed.”

Additional survey findings include:

• More than half of U.S. drivers want autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle.

• Millennials (70 percent) are the most likely to want the technologies, compared to Generation X (54 percent) and Baby Boomers (51 percent).

• Three-quarters of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.

• Baby Boomers (85 percent) are more likely to be afraid than Millennials (73 percent) and Generation X (75 percent) drivers.

• Women (85 percent) are more likely to be afraid than men (69 percent).

• Half of U.S. drivers feel less safe at the prospect of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle.

• Women (58 percent) are more likely to feel less safe than men (49 percent).

• Baby Boomers (60 percent) are more likely to feel less safe than Generation X (56 percent) or Millennials (41 percent).

To educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging technologies, AAA is committed to the on-going, unbiased testing of autonomous vehicles. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems have shown both great promise and great variation. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.

Studies show that more than 90 percent of car crashes result from some form of human error. AAA believes the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles could drastically reduce that statistic.

AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded 117 years ago.

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