High-profile crashes put a dent in consumer acceptance
22 May 2018
OMAHA, NE (May 23, 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.
https://publicaffairsresources.aaa.biz/download/10982/ “Consumers should educate themselves concerning autonomous technology to fully understand the pros and cons,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Technology will continue to be a driving force regarding the future of transportation but, motorists still have a responsibility to be an engaged driver.”

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.
“It’s unrealistic for motorists to think autonomous vehicles will not crash once they hit the road,” continued Waiters.  Further testing is critical to ensure their systems do what they are intended to do and that the vehicles are safe and reliable.”

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.

Key Findings:
  • One-in-five (20%) U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle and 7 percent are unsure.
  • Women (83%) are more likely to be afraid than men (63%).
  • Two-thirds (64%) of Millennial drivers would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up from 49 percent at the end of 2017. This represents the largest increase of any generation surveyed.
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.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.5 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 58 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.