There has been a lot of talk about driverless cars with companies (both automotive and tech) promising a safe and grandiose future and a number of high-profile crashes that have resulted in fatalities. This got us wondering how the general public feels about them. Recently, two studies came asking this and their results are very interesting.
First up is CarGurus which asked 1,873 vehicle owners in the U.S. between the ages of 18 to 65 about self-driving vehicles. 79 percent of participants said they were not excited about owning a self-driving car. 84 percent said they were unlikely to own a self-driving car in the next five years. This number drops to 59 percent when the window is extended to ten years.
Here's where it gets interesting:
- In terms of geographical areas, owners on the West Coast are the most excited at 26 percent. The least, those in Central U.S. at 18 percent.
When it comes to brands, BMW owners lead the pack when asked if they would consider a self-driving vehicle from their brand - 55 percent.
- Least likely? That would be Chrysler owners at 23 percent
- Safety is the key reasons that owners are excited and concerned about self-driving cars - 64 and 81 percent respectively.
- When asked what company is most trusted to develop self-driving cars, 27 percent of participants said none. Second and a bit of surprise was Tesla at 24 percent. (We're wondering if this survey was done before the fatal crash of a Tesla Model X on Autopilot in late March)
The second study comes to us from AAA which asked people how trustful are you of self-driving cars. 73 percent said they would be too afraid to ride in an autonomous car, up from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, 63 percent of those asked said they would feel less safe either walking or on a bike if there is a self-driving vehicle. We have to assume that the fatal crash involving an Uber autonomous vehicle made this number rise.
AAA's study also found a big surprise. Millenials, a group that is quick to accept new technologies, are not as trusting as they once were. In late 2007, 49 percent said they were afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle. Now, that number rose to 64 percent.
“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety. Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations.
Source: Roadshow, AAA
AAA: American Trust in Autonomous Vehicles Slips
ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2018) – Following high-profile incidents involving autonomous vehicle technologies, a new report from AAA’s multi-year tracking study indicates that consumer trust in these vehicles has quickly eroded. Today, three-quarters (73 percent) of American drivers report they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. adults report they would actually feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle.
“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.”
Surprisingly, AAA’s latest survey found that Millennials – the group that has been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technologies — were the most impacted by these incidents. The percentage of Millennial drivers too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent since late 2017, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed.
“While autonomous vehicles are being tested, there’s always a chance that they will fail or encounter a situation that challenges even the most advanced system,” said Megan Foster, AAA’s director of Federal Affairs. “To ease fears, there must be safeguards in place to protect vehicle occupants and the motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the road.”
AAA supports thorough testing of automated vehicle technologies as they continue to evolve, including testing under progressively complicated driving scenarios and under varying conditions, but not at the expense of safety. Additionally, to help prevent the accidental misuse of the systems, AAA advocates for a common sense, common nomenclature and classification system, and similar performance characteristics of future autonomous vehicle technologies.
“There are sometimes dozens of different marketing names for today’s safety systems,” continued Brannon. “Learning how to operate a vehicle equipped with semi-autonomous technology is challenging enough without having to decipher the equipment list and corresponding level of autonomy.”
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.