AAA commenced conducting surveys to evaluate consumer attitudes concerning fully autonomous vehicles in 2016. An updated version of the survey, based upon research conducted in January 2019, reveals that 71 percent of U.S. drivers would be afraid to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle.

Other significant findings include:

  • 53 percent of U.S. drivers would be comfortable with using fully self-driving vehicles for people mover systems in airports and amusement parks.
  • 44 percent of drivers would be comfortable with using fully self-driving vehicle for food delivery services.

AAA believed that experience with autonomous systems had an impact on driver perspectives concerning this technology. “Automated vehicle technology is evolving on a very pubic stage and, as a result, it is affecting how consumers feel about it,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s head of Autonomous Engineering and Industry Relations, is quoted as saying in the AAA news release issued last week. The survey found that drivers who interact with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and self-parking were 68 percent more likely to trust these features than drivers who do not have access to these features.

The survey concluded that the more drivers understand autonomous vehicle technology, the more receptive they will be to the technology. “Having the opportunity to interact with partially or fully automated vehicle technology will help remove some of the mystery for consumers and open the door for greater acceptance,” Brannon was quoted as saying in the news release.

Based on the results of this study, it appears that consumer confidence lags well behind the technological advances and developments of the autonomous vehicle industry.