A sad and strange sight
You may have already seen one. You’re driving around and suddenly you see a car moving down the street – but the front seat is empty. It’s distinctly eerie. Car manufacturers and tech companies are collaborating to get self-driving cars on the roads, and many have already been tested in normal traffic. But let’s face it – many consumers are scared of the idea of letting a car drive itself.
Not ready to give up the wheel just yet
Proponents of driverless vehicles believe that the technology will make the roads safer, because a driverless vehicle cannot succumb to human error. If there is no driver, he or she can’t fall asleep at the wheel, get distracted by a text message, or drive while drunk.
But research suggests that consumers may not be ready to hand over the wheel just yet. AAA recently conducted a survey of 1800 drivers to gauge how comfortable consumers are with the idea of kicking back and relaxing while their car drives itself. The results were somewhat dismal: a full 75 percent of drivers said they didn’t feel safe in a driverless vehicle.
Interested in the features, but don’t want to give up control
However, the results shouldn’t be taken as a total rejection of the idea of automated driving.
While consumers don’t seem too keen on the idea of giving up total control of their vehicles to the robots, 60 percent of survey respondents reported that, next time they buy a new car, they will look for certain self-driving features, such as automatic parking, warnings when you’re swerving out of your lane, and automated cruise control that knows the speed limit, measures the distance of the car in front of you, and adjusts your speed accordingly.
Increasing the comfort level
According to AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair, “people who have these features tend to like them and trust them. That will go a long way for them to start to accept the self-driving technology.” He believes that, if drivers are willing to try selective self-driving features, they will eventually be comfortable letting the car do all of the work. He expects drivers’ “comfort level” with self-driving cars to increase over the next five years.