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Survey: U.S. drivers wary of self-driving cars

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Wilmington— According to a new AAA survey, three out of four U.S. drivers report feeling “afraid” to ride in a self-driving car.

AAA also found that drivers who own vehicles equipped with semi-autonomous features are, on average, 75 percent more likely to trust the technology than those that do not own them.

“Government and safety experts estimate that more than 80 percent of today’s crashes could be prevented by autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles,” said Jim Lardear, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

While only one-in-five Americans say they would trust an autonomous vehicle to drive itself, consumer demand for semi-autonomous vehicle technology is high. “What Americans may not realize is that the building blocks towards self-driving cars are already in today’s vehicles and the technology is constantly improving and well-trusted by those who have experienced it,” Lardear said. Nearly two-thirds of American drivers reported wanting at least one of the following technologies on their next vehicle: automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology or lane-keeping assist.

Among drivers who want these features on their next vehicle, AAA found their primary motivation to be safety, followed by convenience. Baby boomers were more likely to cite safety, and millennials were more likely to cite convenience.

  • Millennials (63 percent) and Gen-Xers (62 percent) were more likely to cite not wanting to pay extra for semi-autonomous technology, compared to Baby Boomers (49 percent).
  • One-in-four female drivers (23 percent) cited feeling the technology is too complicated to use  as a reason for not wanting the technology in their next vehicle, compared to 12 percent of male drivers.

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