COLUMBUS — Drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles, according to a new study from AAA. The annual survey reveals 63 percent of U.S. drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, down from 78 percent in early 2017.
“Americans are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles,” said AAA Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Director Greg Brannon. “Compared to just a year ago, AAA found that 20 million more U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride.”
Since 2016, AAA has conducted an annual study to better understand consumer attitude toward self-driving vehicles. The latest phase of this research reveals consumer attitudes toward automated vehicles are starting to shift. Key findings include:
63 percent of U.S. drivers would be afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, down from 78 percent in 2017.
46 percent of U.S. drivers would feel less safe sharing the road with fully self-driving cars while they drive a regular car, compared to 54 percent in 2017.
51 percent of U.S. drivers want semi-autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle, down from 59 percent in 2017.
In addition, the survey found male and millennial and male drivers are more trusting of autonomous technologies than women and older generations.
Although fears of self-driving vehicles appear to be easing, U.S. drivers report high confidence in their own driving abilities. Despite the fact that more than 90 percent of crashes involve human error, 73 percent of U.S. drivers consider themselves better-than-average drivers.
Men, in particular are confident in their driving skills, with 79 percent considering their driving skills better than average, compared to 68 percent of women.
“AAA found that American drivers are very confident in their driving abilities, which may explain some hesitation to give up full control to a self-driving vehicle,” Brannon said. “Education, exposure and experience will likely help ease consumer fears as we steer toward a more automated future.”
Kimberly Schwind is the senior manager of public affairs for AAA Ohio Auto Club.