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AAA Speaks Out: Growing Number of Americans Willing to Ride in Fully Self-Driving Cars

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This information has been provided by AAA Allied Group, which is headquartered in West Hartford, CT.

By Amy Parmenter, AAA Public and Government Affairs

American drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles, according to a new study from AAA.

The annual survey reveals that 63 percent of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a significant decrease from 78 percent in last year’s survey. Millennial and male drivers are the most trusting of autonomous technologies, with only half reporting they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car.

To ensure that American drivers continue to be informed, prepared and comfortable with this shift in mobility, AAA urges automakers to prioritize consumer education.

“The AAA survey is of particularly interest here in Connecticut where lawmakers recently approved pilot testing of autonomous vehicles on some roadways and are currently establishing an AV Task Force,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “It is important that consumer comfort and concerns be considered as we move forward”.

“Compared to just a year ago, AAA found that 20 million more U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride,” AAA Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Director Greg Brannon said.

While riding in a fully self-driving vehicle is a futuristic concept for most, testing of these vehicles in Connecticut and across the U.S. means that sharing the road with an automated vehicle is an increasing near-term possibility. In this situation, drivers remain leery of self-driving vehicles.

In AAA’s survey, only 13 percent of U.S. drivers report that they would feel safer sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while nearly half (46 percent) would actually feel less safe. Others say they are indifferent (37 percent) or unsure (4 percent).

Additional survey results include:

  • Women are more likely than men to be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle
  • Millennials are the most trusting of self-driving vehicles
  • Baby boomers and Generation X drivers are more likely than millennial drivers to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car.

Although fears of self-driving vehicles appear to be easing, U.S. drivers report high confidence in their own driving abilities, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of crashes involve human error.

To help educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the ongoing, 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. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.

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