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AAA survey: Drivers have mixed feelings on self-driving cars, autonomous technologies

Published: Monday, March 06, 2017 @ 7:12 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 @ 2:30 AM

AP Photo/Jared Wickerham
AP Photo/Jared Wickerham

Drivers across the U.S. remain fearful about self-driving cars, but new data from AAA suggests a majority of drivers are looking for autonomous technologies in the next car they purchase. 

A new survey released Tuesday by AAA revealed 78 percent of drivers surveyed would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle. Those numbers mirrored a 2016 survey where over 75 percent of drivers reported the same fears. 

“A great race towards autonomy is underway and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations in a media release. “However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.” 

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AAA said while the majority overwhelmingly feared a fully self-driving vehicle, 59 percent of drivers were looking for autonomous features in their next vehicle such as automatic emergency braking, self-parking technology, and lane keeping systems. A trend that drivers are ready for autonomous technology, but not willing to give up full control, the auto club suggests. 

“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,” Brannon said. “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.” 

The auto club said they remain committed to testing automated vehicle technologies and provide education to consumers on potentially life-saving, automated vehicle technologies. 

“Every year, we lose approximately 35,000 people on America’s roadways, most as a result of human error,” said Jill Ingrassia, AAA’s managing director of Government Relations and Traffic Safety. “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.”

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