A survey by US motorist association AAA shows driver attitudes toward fully self-driving vehicles have become increasingly apprehensive. According to the 2023 automated vehicle survey, drivers who are afraid of the technology rose to 68 per cent, compared to 55 per cent in 2022. The 13 percentage point jump is the biggest increase since 2020.
The AAA said that vehicle manufacturers must be diligent in creating an environment that promotes the use of more advanced vehicle technologies in a secure, reliable, and educational manner, including the consistent naming of vehicle systems.
“We were not expecting such a dramatic decline in trust from previous years,” said Greg Brannon, Director Of Automotive Research at AAA. “Although with the number of high-profile crashes that have occurred from overreliance on current vehicle technologies, this isn’t entirely surprising.”
According to the association, even with advancements made in recent years, the findings suggest improvements are needed to build public trust and knowledge of emerging vehicle technology.
There is also a need to dispel confusion around automated vehicles. For example, the AAA’s survey found that nearly one in 10 drivers believe they can buy a vehicle that drives itself while they sleep. Currently, no vehicle available for purchase by the public allows someone to fully disengage from driving.
According to the AAA, this perception could stem from misleading or confusing names of vehicle systems that are on the market. The AAA found that 22 per cent of Americans expect driver support systems, with names like Autopilot, ProPILOT, or Pilot Assist, to drive the car itself without any supervision, indicating a gap in consumer understanding.
Despite the findings, the AAA said consumers aren’t entirely opposed to advanced vehicle technology, with six in 10 US drivers saying they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ want these systems in their next car.