— With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and automakers pushing toward a goal of driverless cars filling the highways and backroads, U.S. consumers don't seem too gung-ho about fully autonomous vehicles.
Researchers from the American Automobile Association (AAA) confirmed what previous researchers have found, namely that consumers want some aspects of autonomous technology, but riding in fully autonomous vehicles may be too much to ask. At least right now.
None of this is meant to imply consumers don't want some type of autonomous technology because 70 percent of so-called "Millennials" (born early 1980s to mid-1990s) say they want at least some of the technology.
As suspected, the older a person is, the more likely they want control of the vehicle. However, 54 percent of "Generation X" (born 1961–1981) still want some form of autonomous technology and even 51 percent of "Baby Boomers" (born 1943-1960) desire some of the features.
Some of those technologies show great promise as studies indicate blind spot monitoring, lane departure and forward collision warning systems have the potential to stop or decrease the severity of 1.3 million crashes per year, including 133,000 that result in occupant injuries and 10,000 fatalities.
The push for driverless cars is based on the undeniable fact that more than 90 percent of car crashes are caused by human error, and in some cases human stipidity. NHTSA believes the only way to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities is to take drivers out of the seats and off the controls.
It sounds good, but not all consumers are ready to step into vehicles without drivers, steering wheels or pedals.
Research conducted by AAA a year ago showed that 75 percent of U.S. consumers were scared of riding in driverless cars, and a year later in 2017 that statistic remains the same.
Researchers also found that women tend to be more afraid of self-driving cars than men, whether riding in a self-driving car or sharing the road with one. About 85 percent of women are afraid to ride in a driverless car and 58 percent of women feel less safe being on the same road as a driverless car.
For men, nearly 70 percent are afraid of riding in an autonomous vehicle and 49 percent aren't too hip on sharing the road with one.
When it comes to age, even 75 percent of Generation X are afraid to ride in self-driving cars, only 10 percent lower than Baby Boomers (85 percent). The group of consumers least afraid to ride in autonomous vehicles are Millennials, but still, 73 percent want no part of riding in the cars.
If you aren't familiar with what's happening in the driverless car world, you may want to learn what you can because those cars will soon be traveling next to you on the highways. Click here to learn more about autonomous vehicles.