Toledo, OH - April 11, 2018 –– As the development and testing of autonomous vehicle technology continues to progress rapidly, drivers report that their greatest concerns about the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology are safety and reliability, a new consumer survey from AAA reveals.
The survey revealed that 65 percent, nearly seven out of 10, Ohio drivers say an autonomous vehicle’s safety and reliability are overwhelming concerns when it comes to adoption of the technology, followed by mechanical breakdowns/cost of repair at 11 percent, and data and cybersecurity at seven percent.
Public Policy Polling conducted the survey of licensed drivers for AAA between March 27-28, 2018, less than two weeks after the highly publicized death of a pedestrian whom was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Tempe, Arizona.
In January 2018, AAA released the results of a nationwide poll regarding autonomous vehicles. In that poll, six out of 10 U.S. drivers (63 percent) reported feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. That result is a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017.
“It is difficult to say whether the incident in Arizona might have affected the way people answered questions about the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology, but it may have been on their minds,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager Cindy Antrican. “Any crash involving an autonomous vehicle, especially involving death or injury, will receive heightened scrutiny; as well it should for the sake of safety. It is incumbent upon manufacturers, technology companies and regulators to continue to work toward ensuring new technology is safe and proper protections are in place for all road users.”
Many of today’s new vehicles have some of the same technology being used in autonomous or partly autonomous vehicles, such as lane departure warning, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and crash avoidance braking. 63 percent of respondents said they do not use these technologies, and, of those who do, the majority use primarily adaptive cruise control.
In an effort to meet specific local transportation challenges and introduce the public to the concept of autonomous vehicles, some jurisdictions are planning to operate an autonomous bus or shuttle in narrowly defined areas or to solve specific needs. However, the AAA survey revealed that a majority of respondents, 79% of Ohioans would choose not to ride in a driverless car, bus, or shuttle if it were available in their location suggesting that broad public awareness and education campaigns will be crucial to the success of any such deployment.
There are several initiatives underway throughout Ohio to increase public awareness and education on autonomous and smart mobility. AAA, in collaboration with the College of Engineering at the University of Toledo, is currently hosting a free bimonthly speaker series to educate consumers on the impact of self-driving cars on the world. AAA is also a sponsor for the second annual Smart Cincy Summit later this month in southwest Ohio, exploring the impact of smart mobility. Finally, Drive Ohio, the new center for smart mobility hosted its first summit in February in Central Ohio to inform government and community stakeholders advanced transportation technologies.
One of the biggest questions about the impact of autonomous vehicle is, “How will they change the way people use their vehicles?” The answer to this question will have a significant impact on the way cities and towns plan and pay for their transportation needs in the future.
When asked how their vehicle usage habits are likely to change in comparison to their current habits, the majority of respondents, 62 percent, said that they would likely use a driverless vehicle less than they use their current vehicle. Another 20 percent said that they would use the driverless vehicle to transport them about the same amount and seven percent said they would use the driverless vehicle to transport them more.
In order for autonomous vehicles to operate alongside each other on the highway, they need to exchange data regularly with other vehicles and roadway infrastructure. A clear majority 83 percent responded that they are very or somewhat concerned about the security of the data sent to and from autonomous vehicles, while 10 percent are not very concerned and four percent are not concerned at all.
If respondents in the survey are uncertain about the safety of autonomous vehicles, they have a pretty clear sense of who should be responsible if something goes wrong. When asked who should be responsible for liability while riding in a driverless vehicle, 31 percent believe it is the responsibility of the technology company, while 29 percent believe the liability should rest with the car manufacturer and 18 percent believe it should be the car owner. The remaining while nine percent believe it should be the licensed driver.
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AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.