Fully self-driving vehicles are not available for purchase by consumers and are classified as Level 5 automation as defined by the SAE.  -  Photo:

Fully self-driving vehicles are not available for purchase by consumers and are classified as Level 5 automation as defined by the SAE.


The results of the American Automobile Association's (AAA) annual automated vehicle survey were recently announced, showing that attitudes toward fully self-driving vehicles have become increasingly apprehensive.

This year there was a major increase in drivers who are afraid, rising to 68% as compared to 55% in 2022, according to AAA's news release. This is a 13% jump from last year’s survey and the biggest increase since 2020.

AAA said it believes automakers must be diligent in creating an environment that promotes the use of more advanced vehicle technologies in a secure, reliable, and educational manner. This includes the consistent naming of vehicle systems available to consumers.

“We were not expecting such a dramatic decline in trust from previous years,” said Greg Brannon, director of automotive research for AAA. “Although with the number of high-profile crashes that have occurred from over-reliance on current vehicle technologies, this isn’t entirely surprising.”

AAA’s survey also found that nearly one in 10 drivers believe they can buy a vehicle that drives itself while they sleep. Currently, there is no such vehicle available for purchase by the public that would allow someone to fully disengage from the task of driving, according to AAA.

AAA found that 22% of Americans expect driver support systems, with names like Autopilot, ProPILOT, or Pilot Assist, to have the ability to drive the car by itself without any supervision, indicating a gap in consumer understanding.

“AAA seeks to partner with automakers to create greater consistency across the industry," said Brannon. "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."

The survey was conducted from Jan. 13-17, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online. Consumers without internet access were surveyed over the phone.

A total of 1,140 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older, of which 949 qualified for the study. The margin of error for the study overall is 4.3% at the 95% confidence level.

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