AAA: Americans fear self-driving cars

Drivers leery of a driverless future


TAMPA, Fla. – New vehicle technology has become a major topic among American motorists.  A new AAA survey reveals that U.S. drivers seek autonomous technologies in their next vehicle, but remain apprehensive about a fully self-driving car. Although autonomous vehicles are considered to be safer, more efficient, and more convenient than their human counterparts, three out of four motorists are afraid to ride in self-driving cars. Technology will continue to be a driving force in the future of transportation; AAA urges automakers to gradually introduce these technologies to ensure American motorists are informed, prepared, and comfortable with this shift in mobility.

 “Consumers should always educate themselves concerning new car technology to fully understand the pros and cons,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “The key to consumer acceptance will be education. Autonomous vehicle safety features could potentially save lives.”

In 2016, AAA conducted a comprehensive survey to identify motorists fears towards self-driving vehicles, known as Phase I. This survey revealed most drivers trust their driving skills more than the technology (84 percent), followed by feeling the technology is too new and unproven (60 percent), followed by not wanting to pay extra for it (57 percent) and then finding it annoying (45 percent). Phase II of this research provides an overview of the past year, and offers new insights into whether motorists are ready to give up control.

Key Findings:

·         Half (54%) of U.S. drivers feel less safe at the prospect of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle, while one-third (34%) feel it wouldn’t make a difference and only 10 percent say they would feel safer.

o    Women (58%) are more likely to feel less safe than men (49%).

o    Baby Boomers (60%) are more likely to feel less safe than Generation X (56%) or Millennials (41%)

·         The majority (59%) of U.S. drivers want autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle, while the remainder do not (25%) or are unsure (16%).

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

·         Three-quarters (78%) of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.

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

o    Women (85%) are more likely to be afraid than men (69%).

To educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the on-going, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. It is clear motorists have different values and beliefs regarding fully autonomous vehicles, however, new technology will continue to shape the future of driving. AAA will continue to educate the motoring public on the associated benefits and limitations involved with these new features.


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