Majority of Drivers Are Afraid of Autonomous Cars, Study Says

By automotive-mag.com 2 Min Read

The promise of fully self-driving cars remains elusive. That might be a good thing, at least going by a new study from AAA that found the majority of people are actually afraid of autonomous vehicles. Even more surprising: That number has increased in recent years while public trust has fallen.

According to AAA, 66 percent of respondents said they feared self-driving vehicles. That’s up from 55 percent in 2022, but down from 68 percent last year. The share of those who trust AVs held steady from 2023 to 2024 at 9 percent, while 25 percent were unsure of them. Both numbers are down from 15 and 30 percent, respectively, in 2022.

While buyers might be weary of robot cars, they aren’t opposed to some technological assistance behind the wheel. Respondents said they were interested in some technology, with more than half open to automatic braking, reverse automatic braking, and lane keep assist. Only 42 percent were interested in active driving assist, and 49 percent were for adaptive cruise control.

Buyers should be skeptical of even those driver aids, however, as another AAA study discovered that they aren’t always reliable. The organization recently researched the effectiveness of automatic rear braking systems, and only one out of 40 test runs ended without a crash. Half of the cars failed to stop for stationary pedestrians standing behind the vehicle.

Most buyers won’t have to worry about autonomous vehicles anytime soon. General Motors’ Cruise division has faced significant safety hurdles over the last few months, and it appears that Google’s Waymo is one of the remaining outfits putting in a full effort to develop the technology. It expanded its robotaxi service to Los Angeles today, but the tech is still years away from making it into everyday passenger vehicles.

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