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Survey: More Americans willing to ride in self-driving cars

People are less fearful of automated cars
Survey: More Americans willing to ride in self-driving cars
Posted at 2:57 PM, Jan 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-29 15:57:34-05

Is the future of driving here? More and more people are easing to the idea of self-driving cars.

This concept may sound futuristic, but maybe it is closer than we realize.

According to an annual survey from AAA, there was a significant decrease in the amount of drivers who are fearful of automated cars. Last year 78% reported feeling afraid of fully self-driving cars, but this year the number decreased to 63%.

The survey also found that millennial and male drivers were more willing to trust automated vehicles. Only half reported feeling fearful.

Nick Jarmusz, Wisconsin Director of Public Affairs for AAA, said, "Americans are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles. Compared to just a year ago, AAA found that 20 million more U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride."

The execution of the idea is nearer and nearer. However this would require the automated carsto be driving on the road with regular cars, which people are hesitant about. The survey found that only 13% of drivers would feel safer sharing the road with these self-driving vehicles. 46% reported that they'd feel less safe.

AAA's survey also found that women are more likely to be afraid to ride in the automated vehicles than men. 73% of women are afraid compared to 52% of men. Women also would feel less safe sharing the road with self-driving cars. 55% of women reported feeling less safe sharing the road and 36% of men.

Millennials are the most trusting age group of self-driving cars. 49% of millennials would be afraid to ride in these cars, which is down significantly from last years report of 73%. Baby boomers are still leery of self-driving cars, but even they saw improvement. Last year 85% of baby boomers were afraid, this year only 68% reported being afraid. Baby boomers (54%) and Generation X (47%) are more likely to feel less safe than millennials (34%) sharing the road with automated cars.

Perhaps people's confidence in their own driving skills has to do with the hesitation. Even though 90% of all crashes are a result of human error, 73% of U.S. drivers would qualify themselves as better-then-average. Perhaps people would be willing to give up the control of driving if they realized that self-driving cars might reduce crashes, at least in the instances of human error.

With more education on emerging vehicle technologies, consumers may grow more comfortable. AAA will continue to test automated vehicle technologies. They've tested automated breaks, self-parking technologies, lane keeping systems, and adaptive cruise controls.

The idea may still sound scary, but the future of driving is approaching!