What word would you use to describe the feeling of riding in a self-driving car?
Would it be “excited?” How about “amazed?” Or “skeptical?”
Well, according to the results of a new AAA consumer survey, a majority of Americans would use the word “afraid.”
In fact, 78 percent of Americans fear fully autonomous, or self-driving cars, and only 10 percent believe they would make roads any safer, according to the survey.
Autonomous cars have long been considered a panacea for driver shortfalls and bad decisions, like impaired and distracted driving. But if nobody wants them, or if people truly fear them, they won’t have much of an impact.
Fortunately for automakers, the AAA survey shows a different attitude when it comes to self-driving car tech.
Researchers found 59 percent of U.S. drivers want the high-tech features that help autonomous cars go, such as lane keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking and parking assist, in the next vehicle they buy or lease.
This suggests drivers are ready for the cool stuff, but not trusting enough to give up control completely, according to Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations.
“U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver – and they’re correct,” Brannon said.
“While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”
Other interesting findings from the survey include:
Half of U.S. drivers would feel less safe with autonomous cars on the road.
25 percent of Americans do not want self-driving tech in their next car.
81 percent of drivers feel autonomous car technology should work the same way in every car, no matter the manufacturer.
Regardless of the attitudes, AAA has done extensive research on the technology behind self-driving cars and found that no system is flawless. Safety experts agree: no technology today can replace an attentive driver.
To learn more about this autonomous car survey, click here.
Want to sound off on the idea of self-driving cars? Looking forward to having a new feature in your next car? Share your thoughts with the Your AAA community in the comments section below.
For more on the latest AAA research and studies, visit AAA.com/AAAStudies.