AAA: Consumers Stuck in Neutral in Acceptance of Self-Driving Cars

New research finds only 12 percent of drivers would feel safe riding in a car that drives itself

PORTLAND, Ore., – A new AAA survey on automated vehicles reveals that only one in ten drivers (12%) would trust riding in a self-driving car. Even more Americans – 28% – don’t know how they feel about the technology, signaling consumers are stuck in neutral on the road to accepting self-driving cars. AAA believes consumers want more information and experiences with this type of technology.

Consumers told AAA that they have a desire to see more news stories or public information on key issues surrounding self-driving vehicles like safety and liability:

  • Six in ten (57%) Americans say 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.
  • Half (51%) are interested about laws to make sure self-driving cars are safe.
  • Half (49%) want to know how vulnerable they will be to hackers.

Here’s the fact sheet on the AAA survey on automated vehicles.

AV Consumer Survey

“We’ve all been inundated by information on self-driving cars and how they’re coming, but they’re still not on the roads yet. So people have to form their opinions on the idea of self-driving cars instead of having actual experiences. We know that when people have a chance to interact with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) already in vehicles today, they tend to not only to like these technologies but really embrace them,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Americans specifically voiced their opinion on what would make them feel safer about self-driving cars:

  • Seven in ten (72%) U.S. adults would feel safer riding in a self-driving car if they had the ability to take over control if something goes wrong.
  • A similar proportion (69%) would feel safer if there was a human backup driver.
  • Half (47%) would feel safer knowing the self-driving car has passed rigorous testing and inspections.
  • Four in ten (42%) would feel safer after seeing or experiencing a demonstration prior to getting into a self-driving car.

“Education is key to moving consumers toward greater acceptance of AVs,” adds Dodds. “AAA recommends that consumers educate themselves on new developments in vehicle technology. Look online for information, visit some dealerships and talk to friends who already have Advanced Driver Assistance Systems such as Lane Keep Assist and Automatic Cruise Control in their vehicles.”

Today, there are semi-automated vehicles on the road. However, a fully automated fleet is still decades away. AAA conducts research like this study and others to help inform and encourage the industry, media and policymakers to find ways to help consumers connect better with advanced vehicle technology.

AV Consumer Survey

Methodology

Due to a change in methodology in 2020, this year’s survey results are not directly comparable to results from prior years. This survey was conducted January 17 – 19, 2020, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,301 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 4% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

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For more info go www.AAA.com.  AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 820,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 60 million motorists in North America.