Do you feel safe sharing the road with driverless cars?

Woman in driver's seat reading in driverless Volvo

A new study from the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that three-quarters of U.S. drivers do not feel safe sharing the road with driverless cars. The findings were the same in an AAA survey from last year. The study also notes that a majority of American drivers say they want autonomous technologies in their next vehicles.

Even though researchers and experts in the field believe that self-driving cars will be safer, more efficient and more convenient than regular cars, only 10 percent said they would actually feel safer in an autonomous vehicle.

“A great race towards autonomy is underway and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways,” said John Paul, AAA’s Senior Manager of Traffic Safety, in a statement. “However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.”

While the majority is afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, the latest survey also found that the majority (59 percent) of Americans are keen to have autonomous features in their next vehicle. This marked contrast suggests that American drivers are ready to embrace autonomous technology, but they are not yet ready to give up full control.

“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,” said Paul. “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.”

AAA’s new report also reveals the following:

  • Half (54 percent) of U.S. drivers feel less safe at the prospect of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle, while one-third (34 percent) feel it wouldn’t make a difference and only 10 percent say they would feel safer.
  • Women (58 percent) are more likely to feel less safe than men (49 percent).
  • Baby Boomers (60 percent) are more likely to feel less safe than Generation X (56 percent ) or Millennials (41 percent)
  • The majority (59 percent) of U.S. drivers want autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle, while the remainder do not (25 percent) or are unsure (16 percent)
  • Millennials (70 percent) are the most likely to want the technologies, compared to Generation X (54 percent) and Baby Boomers (51 percent).
  • Three-quarters (78 percent) of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
  • Baby Boomers (85 percent) are more likely to be afraid than Millennials (73 percent) and Generation X (75 percent) drivers.
  • Women (85 percent) are more likely to be afraid than men (69 percent).

“Every year, we lose approximately 35,000 people on America’s roadways, most as a result of human error,” said Paul, in a press release. “Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce this number, and automakers, government agencies and safety organizations like AAA must continue working together to ensure that these new vehicles are safely tested and deployed.”

So how do you feel about sharing the road with driverless vehicles? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Attribution: By DimiTVP (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Source: AAA

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