PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Most drivers are “increasingly apprehensive” of partially-automated vehicle technology, according to a survey conducted by AAA.
The annual survey found that roughly 68% of drivers are afraid of self-driving vehicles, as compared to 55% in 2022.
This is a 13% jump from last year’s survey, and the largest increase since 2020, according to AAA.
“We were not expecting such a dramatic decline in trust from previous years,” AAA Northeast spokesperson Mary Maguire said. “Although with the number of high-profile crashes that have occurred from over-reliance on current vehicle technologies, this isn’t entirely surprising.”
AAA believes the findings suggest improvements are still necessary to “build public trust and knowledge surrounding emerging vehicle technology.”
The survey also found that one in 10 drivers believe they can buy a vehicle that drives itself while they sleep. (Right now, no vehicles available for purchase allow the driver to fully disengage.)
AAA believes the misconception comes from misleading names of advanced driver assistance systems that are on the market. The survey revealed that 22% of Americans expect systems, with names like Autopilot, ProPILOT or Pilot Assist to have the ability to drive the car by itself without supervision.
Drivers aren’t completely opposed to the technology. The survey found six in 10 drivers would “definitely” or “probably” want to buy a vehicle with an advanced driving assist system.
“AAA seeks to partner with automakers to create greater consistency across the industry,” Maguire said. “Together, we can help consumers understand the type of technology their vehicle has along with how, when and where to use these systems, which will ultimately build trust in the vehicles of the future.”
AAA has conducted annual surveys regarding autonomous vehicles since 2016.