AAA: Most Americans fear self-driving cars – 13newsnow.com
Self-driving cars: terrifying death traps or future givers of freedom to the disabled, unlicensed or maybe even drunk?
For now, Americans are opting for the first scenario.
“Three out of four U.S. drivers report feeling ‘afraid’ to ride in a self-driving car,” according to a survey AAA conducted in January.
More than 80 percent of the fearful said they trust “their driving skills more than the technology” and 60 percent said they believe “the technology is too new and unproven.”
The survey results were released soon after news that one of Google’s self-driving cars ran into a bus in Silicon Valley, which may be the first time one of its cars caused a crash.
Google filed a report with the California DMV Feb. 23 stating that a Lexus it was testing had tried to pass some sandbags in a wide lane and ended up hitting the side of a bus on Valentine’s Day.
No one was hurt, Google said in a written statement. The Lexus was moving “at around 2 mph – and made contact with the side of a passing bus traveling at 15 mph.”
“Our car had detected the approaching bus, but predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it.
“We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision,” Google said. “That said, our test driver believed the bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that.”
“This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day. This is a classic example of the negotiation that’s a normal part of driving — we’re all trying to predict each other’s movements,” the company said.
According to the Associated Press, “Google cars have been involved in nearly a dozen collisions in or around Mountain View since starting to test on city streets in the spring of 2014. In most cases, Google’s cars were rear-ended. No one has been seriously injured.”
Put your fears on cruise control
Drivers who own vehicles equipped with semi-autonomous features are 75 percent more likely to trust the technology, according to the AAA survey.
“What Americans may not realize is that the building blocks towards self-driving cars are already in today’s vehicles and the technology is constantly improving and well-trusted by those who have experienced it,” John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair, said in a statement.
More than 60 percent of U.S. drivers said they want automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology or lane-keeping assist.
As cars more often learn to stay in their own lane, so may American fears get in line with the technology.