Roadway fatalities connected to self-driving cars has seen consumer trust plummetting. An American Automobile Association survey pointed to trust in autonomous vehicles taking a downward spiral after the two March incidents. In the first, a pedestrian in Arizona has been killed a self-driving Uber cab and the second involved a semi-autonomous Tesla Model X. The association said the fear factor reported by 73 percent of those polled last month was up 10 points from late 2017 and nearly erased gains from the 78 percent afraid of automated cars early last year.
According to American reports, almost three-quarters of Americans are now saying that they are too afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle. The age group affected the most was young adults, ages 20 to 37. About 64 percent say they are afraid to ride in a self-driving car — a rather sharp increase from 49 percent at the end of 2017.
The creators of self-driving technology, including Waymo, acknowledged the trust deficit with the public. Efforts to tackle the issue are especially urgent as Waymo prepares to launch a driverless ride-hailing business in Arizona soon. General Motors, which is looking in this direction promises to follow next year in an unspecified major American city.
Interest and anxiety are rather high. The Tesla crashes receive outsized attention as investors and safety advocates seek to learn whether Autopilot was in use. The latest AAA survey shows the public is deeply skeptical. Two-thirds of US adults don’t even want to share the road with autonomous cars. They feel less safe, according to the telephone survey 1,014 people conducted by the association.
Women were found to be the most fearful of the technology — 83 percent said they’re too afraid to ride in a self-driving car and 70 percent responded saying they feel less safe sharing the road with them.
The fear apart, there are consumers who understand the promise of automated driving. About 55 percent said they want semi-autonomous technology in the next vehicle they buy.