Americans still reticent to embrace self-driving vehicles, but like ADAS tech, if they use it

A year after a number of high-profile automated vehicle incidents, American attitudes toward fully self-driving cars have not rebounded.

“Back in December of 2017, 63 percent of those surveyed said that they were apprehensive or had some fears about self-driving vehicles,” said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. “When we surveyed them again this January, that number was up to nearly three in four.”

AAA believes the key to helping consumers feel more comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles will be bridging the gap between the perception of automated vehicle technology and the reality of how it actually works in today’s cars.

“Automated vehicle technology is sort of evolving on a very public stage,” said Steward. “As a result, we’re sort of seeing the sausage made in the background. We’re seeing some of the bugs being worked out. We’re seeing some of the failures that are happening.”

It’s important to note that current ADAS technology is a lot closer to cruise control than K.I.T.T.

“Things that are available in a lot of the vehicles now, like lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, automated braking, those sorts of things that are available now, we’ve found that as people interact with those technologies, they feel a lot more comfortable and trust those,” said Steward.

Drivers who have one of these four ADAS technologies are about 68 percent more likely to trust these features than drivers who don’t have them.

Graphic courtesy AAA