A survey conducted on behalf of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) shows that Americans fear fully autonomous vehicles, but education and direct experience with automated driving technologies will lead to increased confidence.
The skepticism and mistrust found in the PAVE survey is rooted in a lack of knowledge about and exposure to Automated Vehicle (AV), rather than specific incidents that have been publicized at different times
Most Americans interviewed say that more education and experience with such vehicles would increase their confidence in this technology, but personal experience with the advanced safety features available for sale today is closely linked to a higher level of familiarity and confidence in all levels of automatic driving technology.
“The results of this survey confirm that autonomous vehicles face major perception challenges, and that education and outreach are the keys to improving trust,” said Tara Andringa, Executive Director of PAVE. “These insights provide both motivation and direction to our effort to confront this educational challenge.”
In addition to a nationwide survey of 1,200 adult Americans, the PAVE survey includes a first of its kind survey of 200 Americans with mobility issues that affect their daily lives - a community that can benefit from increased mobility with highly automated vehicles. The survey showed that this community is somewhat more positive about AV key concepts and is more knowledgeable about AV than the general public - and their optimism about the future of AV is similar to that of the general public.
“These findings demonstrate that blind Americans and others with disabilities are enthusiastic about the potential of automated vehicles to enhance our mobility and independence,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We look forward to assisting in the planned public education efforts and continued research that will be guided by this recent polling data.”
The survey found that 48% of Americans say they “would never get in a taxi or ride-share vehicle that was being driven autonomously.” At the same time, 60% of respondents said they gained more credibility in AVs if they "understood better how the technology works."
58% said they would have greater trust in AVs if they could experience a ride in one, compared to 24% who did not.
Americans who own vehicles with ADAS features agreed with the statement “the advantages of AVs outweigh any potential disadvantages” at above-average rates (average = 34%), with the highest percentages correlating with ownership of more advanced features like Active Parking Assist (58 %), Heads-Up Display (54%) and Lane Keeping Assist (51%).
75% of Americans who own vehicles with ADAS agree that they “can't wait to see what new safety features will be in my next vehicle” and “will feel safer on the road when I know that most other vehicles have enhanced safety features.”
People with disabilities were more likely to agree that “the advantages of AVs outweigh any potential disadvantages” (43% vs 34%). This group was more likely to agree that “AVs will help mobility-challenged individuals go places they cannot get to today” than the general public (76% vs 70%).
45% of respondents believe “AVs can save lives”, with 19% disagreeing and 36% unsure.
The technology of Self-Driving is constantly evolving, because it has a number of advantages.
We all heard a lot about automobile crash, so none of us attach great importance to reports of another one, if it does not have a large scale. However, according to the NHTSA in the United States there is an automobile crash every 479,000 miles.
At the same time, Tesla registered 1 accident for every 4.68 million miles driven for those driving with Autopilot engaged. But, since this technology is relatively new, every incident, even if it was not the fault of Tesla’s car, gets a lot of publicity.
However, the value of this survey is that we saw that people simply show fear of the unknown, which is a normal human reaction. In turn, the more this technology develops, the more accessible it will become information about it and more people will be able to gain experience and change their mind about AV.
All diagrams in the article are provided by PAVEFollow @EvaFoxU
About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.