April 20, 2024


A Waymo car drives along a street on March 01, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Tomorrow is the perpetual expected delivery date of the first self-driving car, but the fledging systems are far from showroom-ready. However, it’s not clear that the general public would want to ride in or even share the road with a fully autonomous car. A recent survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows that 91% of drivers don’t trust self-driving vehicles.

The poor public perception of autonomous cars was no doubt shaped by the high-profile crashes involving vehicles equipped with the technology. Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous vehicle subsidiary, drew the ire of millions through its troublesome robotaxi program in San Francisco. Cruise cars were stalling and creating traffic jams on streets across the city. The worst incident last year involved a robotaxi running over a woman already hit by a car and dragging her 20 feet. General Motors eventually suspended the program.

The survey is run annually by AAA and hasn’t shown a massive difference from last year. A staggering two-thirds of respondents said that they were afraid of self-driving cars. That’s a figure that reflects real-world sentiment. Waymo was met with protests at its Los Angeles launch in October last year. At this point, drivers are even skeptical of semi-autonomous features like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

An additional 25% of respondents stated that they remain “unsure” of autonomous vehicles. Only nine percept of respondents actually admitted that they trusted AVs.

Despite the growing hesitation, many drivers had positive opinions of certain elements of certain automated systems, like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Whether it be through the potential dangers on the roads or loss of employment, people are fearful of a future involving driverless cars. The impetus is on manufacturers to produce faultless machines and they haven’t been close to the mark.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.



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