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AAA: More Americans willing to ride in self-driving cars

AAA: More Americans willing to ride in self-driving cars
Posted at 5:19 AM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 07:19:08-05

American drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles. AAA’s annual survey reveals that 63 percent of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017. This means 20 million more American drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride.

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While riding in a fully self-driving vehicle is a futuristic concept for many, testing of these vehicles in the United States means that sharing the road with an automated vehicle is an increasing near-term possibility.

AAA found that millennial and male drivers are the most trusting of autonomous technologies. Survey results include:

  • Men are less likely to be afraid (52 percent) than women (73 percent) to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
  • Millennials are the most trusting of self-driving vehicles, with only 49 percent (down from 73 percent) reporting that they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car.
  • Generation X (47 percent) drivers are more likely than millennial drivers (34 percent) to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car.
  • The majority of baby boomers (68 percent) still report being afraid to ride in a self-driving car. However, this generation is significantly more comfortable with the idea than they were a year ago, when 85 percent reported being afraid.

In October 2017, AAA partnered with the City of Las Vegas to introduce a free, self-driving shuttle pilot in Downtown Las Vegas. Since its launch, the shuttle has transported over 10,000 riders. AAA is surveying passengers to learn how their experience affects their perception of self-driving technology. Riders who experience the shuttle are immediately more comfortable with self-driving technology once they’ve experienced it, with 98 percent of riders saying they would recommend the experience to a friend.

Earlier this month, AAA announced a partnership with Torc Robotics [] to develop safety criteria for self-driving cars through a testing program on public streets. Using Torc’s self-driving system, the partners will collect data from various urban safety cases they observe while driving in Las Vegas in February and in other cities later this year. The information gathered will help inform safety for the developing industry.