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AAA: Americans Want More Information Before Trusting Self-Driving Tech

by ECT

Walnut Creek, Calif. – A new AAA survey on automated vehicles reveals consumers would be more amenable to self-driving vehicles if they had more information and hands-on experience with the technology.

Americans specifically voiced their opinions on what would make them feel safer about self-driving cars. About half (47%) would feel safer knowing the self-driving car has passed rigorous testing and inspections. Four in ten (42%) would feel more comfortable with the technology after seeing or experiencing a demonstration prior to getting into a self-driving car. AAA Northern California is at the forefront of safety testing through work being done at GoMentum Station in Concord.

“Before Americans accept self-driving vehicles, they would like more information and more rigorous testing,” said Ignacio Garcia, Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles Strategy at AAA Northern California. “As a trusted safety advocate, AAA Northern California will continue to partner with municipalities and manufacturers to pave a safe road for the future of mobility.”

Consumers told AAA they have a desire to see more information in news stories and other public sources on key issues surrounding self-driving vehicles like safety and liability:

  • Six in ten (57%) Americans say they would like to have a clear understanding of who will be legally responsible in the event of a crash.
  • Half (51%) are interested about laws to make sure self-driving cars are safe.
  • Half (49%) want to know how vulnerable they will be to hackers.

As a result, being able to take back control of a self-driving car currently ranks highest among what would make Americans feel safer. A large majority (72%) would feel safer if they could take over control if something goes wrong. A similar proportion (69%) would feel safer if there was a human backup driver.

AAA’s survey found only 12% of drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle today, while 28% are unsure how they feel. Previous AAA surveys have shown education and experience about technology helps change perceptions. AAA Northern California joined forces with other industry leaders in the Let’s Talk Self Driving public education campaign to help improve public education and acceptance.

“Once drivers have an understanding of how the technology works and how its environment- laws, liability and testing works , acceptance will be easier to achieve,” Garcia said.

AAA conducts research like this study and the testing at GoMentum Station to help inform and encourage the industry, media and policymakers to find ways to help consumers connect better with advanced vehicle technology.

Due to a change in methodology in 2020, this year’s survey results are not directly comparable to results from prior years. This survey was conducted January 17 – 19, 2020, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,301 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 4% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.

About GoMentum Station

GoMentum Station, the nation’s largest dedicated secure testing facility for connected and automated vehicle technology, is owned and operated by AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, whose goal is to assist members and the public in adapting to the fast-changing mobility landscape, while continuing to focus on traffic safety.
The 2,100 acre GoMentum Station is the center of cutting-edge transportation research. The innovative technology being explored and tested at GoMentum Station will redefine the next generation of transportation, bring unprecedented mobility options to people, and help advance traffic safety towards zero fatalities.
About AAA Northern California
AAA has a proud history of serving Members for over 100 years. AAA is on a mission to create Members for life by unleashing the innovative spirit of 4,000 employees representing 6 million Members across Northern California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. In addition to legendary roadside assistance, AAA offers home, auto and life insurance, and extraordinary travel services. According to Via Magazine’s Smart Guide, being a AAA Member can save you more than $1,200 a year. Learn more at AAA.com.

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