AI News, 75% of U.S. Drivers Fear Self-Driving Cars, But It's an Easy Fear to Get Over

75% of U.S. Drivers Fear Self-Driving Cars, But It's an Easy Fear to Get Over

“There’s going to be a natural hesitation inputting your faith in a machine to do a task that you had typically taken care of in the past.” Both tech giants and automakers that have invested billions in self-driving cars and similar robotic vehicle technology will need the driving public to learn to trust such vehicles.

Said one participant in the25–39 age group: “I thought it was really cool, I was a little wary of it at first, but it was surprisinglyvery reliable and trustworthy…Just the whole idea of not being in control of thevehicle and letting go of you know, and not having control, immediate control ofthe wheel or speed.” Other sample responses also showed howearly nervousness aboutself-driving cars may soon vanish for many drivers.A participant in the18−24age group said: “It was pretty much right away, I mean I was a little uneasy trying to grab thewheel at first and try to still steer then I realized, ‘Wow it’s doing everything forme.Once I realized it was doing that I was ready to trust it right away.” Researchers were able to test people’s levels of comfort and trust under different driving conditions, saysMyra Blanco, director of the Center for Public Policy, Partnerships, and Outreach at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

By comparison, millennials were more likely than baby boomers to cite “convenience” and “wanting the latest technology.” About half of women surveyedcited the hopeful possibility of semi-autonomous features helping toreducestress.42 percent of men also cited stress relief as a reason for wanting smarter cars capable of taking the load off of drivers.

“We want to find the right way to put these drivers and vehicles in a state of comfort and enjoyment,” Lathrop says.“If the vehicle is taking care of the monotonous task of driving through stop-and-go traffic, that improves your qualify of life.” One of the trickiest futureissues facing Lathrop and his Volkswagen lab involves how to seamlessly switch over from self-driving car modes to human driving modes.

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