AAA: Reluctance Still High Regarding Self-Driving Vehicles

A new AAA survey on automated vehicles reveals that only one in 10 of the 1,301 U.S. drivers it polled – just 12 percent – would “trust riding in a self-driving vehicle,” while another 28 percent of those polled said they “don’t know how they feel” about the technology.

[Above photo via Google.]

According to Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations, those results indicate “consumers are stuck in neutral” in terms of accepting self-driving cars.

Those findings also mirror results from a similar survey conducted in 2019, which found that 71 percent of those polled were “afraid” to ride in fully self-driving vehicles; a result of what the organization called several “high-profile” autonomous vehicle crashes.

AAA added that its most recent self-driving vehicle poll – conducted in mid-January with U.S. adult drivers 18 years or older – also discerned a “desire” on the part of motorists to see more “news stories or public information” on key issues surrounding self-driving vehicles, such as safety and liability.

Those findings include:

  • 57 percent of those surveyed said they would like to have a clear understanding of who will be legally responsible in the event of a crash with a self-driving vehicle.
  • 51 percent are interested about laws to make sure self-driving cars are safe.
  • 49 percent want to know how vulnerable they will be to hackers.

“Knowing how people truly feel about self-driving cars will help the industry to identify the steps needed to move consumers towards greater acceptance,” added Brannon.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.

Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce made similar points during a hearing on February 11.

“Safety and deployment must come hand in hand – we cannot have one without the other,” Rep. Pallone said. “Because, ultimately, public acceptance of self-driving cars depends on their reliability and safety. Troubling safety incidents, regulatory black holes, and lax oversight threaten to disrupt this critical balance and the future of this technology itself.”

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