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Report Finds That Americans Aren't Comfortable With Self-Driving Cars

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【Summary】A survey completed by AAA reveals that the majority of Americans feel unsafe sharing the road with fully autonomous vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 15, 2017 3:30 PM PT
Report Finds That Americans Aren't Comfortable With Self-Driving Cars

As automakers and companies continue to work steadfastly on driverless technology, they haven't stopped to do any research to see how many drivers really want autonomous tech. While self-driving cars have a lot to offer in terms of safety, usability, and time management, not everyone wants to be driven by a bunch of high-tech computers. And, as it turns out, not everyone wants to share the road with driverless cars.

Drivers Still Want Control 

A survey conducted by the c (AAA) revealed that the majority of drivers in the U.S. feel uncomfortable sharing the road with fully autonomous cars. According to a report by the association, three-quarters of American drivers feel afraid to ride in an autonomous car. Not only that, but the report also claims that only 10 percent of drivers claimed that they would feel safer sharing the roads with self-driving vehicles. 

In short, drivers in the U.S. aren't looking forward to the autonomous future that automakers and technology companies are promising. With the new study, California's new autonomous rules may not seem like such a good idea.  

"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. "However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle."

The new study mirrors what AAA found last year. In 2016, the association conducted a similar survey and found that three-quarters of drivers in the U.S. reported to feeling unsafe to ride in an autonomous vehicle. This year, the new study conducted by the AAA found that the same percentage of drivers are still fearful of driverless technology. 

There is, however, some good news for automakers and companies that are chasing autonomous tech. The latest survey, as AAA reports, found that 59 percent of American drivers are looking forward to having self-driving features in their car. While that may be a little confusing, the study shows that the majority of drivers are interested in driverless features, but they're not ready to give up control over a vehicle just yet. 

"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," stated Brannon. "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." 

Millenials Want Tech, Others Don't

Other findings from the survey help break down the findings a little more. According to the report, women are more likely to be afraid to ride in a fully driverless car at 85 percent to 69 percent respectively. At 58 percent, women are also more likely to feel less safe than men, which are at 49 percent, when it comes to sharing the road with self-driving vehicles. 

Unsurprisingly, the latest generation of drivers, Millennials and those from Generation X, are more likely to feel safer riding in a fully autonomous vehicle than Baby Boomers. And Millenials are the most likely to want self-driving technology in their vehicles compared to Baby Boomers and drivers from Generation X. 

Obviously, there's still an uphill limb for automakers before they release fully autonomous cars. In the meantime, companies will be able to test fully driverless tech on the track

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