AAA: Drivers Are Becoming Less Scared of Autonomous Cars
Relinquishing control of your car to a soulless software system is never easy, but it appears that more drivers are warming up to the idea of autonomous vehicles. According to a new study by AAA, only 63 percent of U.S. drivers say they would be afraid to ride in a fully self-driving car.
That may not sound impressive, but note that it’s a significant decrease from the 78 percent of people that reported fear of these vehicles in early 2017. Twenty million more drivers in the U.S. would trust a self-driving car to give them a ride compared to last year.
While 73 percent of women are afraid to ride in a self-driving car, only 52 percent of men feel the same way, according to the data. Millennials are more likely to accept the technology, as only 49 percent report a fear of these cars. A year ago, that number was at 73 percent.
Cockpit of the Cruise AV autonomous Chevrolet Bolt
Baby boomers are also making strides in trusting autonomous cars. According to AAA, 68 percent are afraid to ride in these cars, but it’s an improvement from 85 percent a year ago. At this time, Generation Xers are the most likely to be afraid of self-driving cars (70 percent).
Many drivers seem pretty uncomfortable sharing the road with autonomous cars, too. Nearly half (46 percent) of those surveyed would feel less safe with self-driving cars on the road, and only 13 percent would feel safer. Of the remaining pool, 37 percent are indifferent and 4 percent are unsure.
“Education, exposure, and experience will likely help ease consumer fears as we steer toward a more automated future,” AAA Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Director Greg Brannon said in a recent release.
While drivers may not trust autonomous cars, they’re definitely confident in their own capabilities behind the wheel. About three-quarters of those surveyed think they’re better-than-average drivers, and among just men, that figure jumps to 79 percent.
A host of automakers—including Ford, GM, BMW, Hyundai, and others—plan to have highly automated vehicles on the road by the early 2020s. In the meantime, 51 percent of drivers said they would want semi-autonomous technology such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and other features in their next vehicle.