Auto club survey shows mixed feelings about self-driving vehicles

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Drivers have their concerns aboutprospects of self-driving vehicles, a new consumer survey from Wilmington-based AAA Mid-Atlantic reported.
According to a survey of 615 drivers residing in Delaware, more than six out of ten respondents, 64 percent, said an autonomous vehicle’s safety and reliability are top concerns when it comes to adoption of the technology, followed by data and cybersecurity with 11 percent, and mechanical breakdowns and cost of repair at 9 percent.
Your greatest concern about the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology?
The reliability and safety of the technology 54 %
Data and cyber security 11%
Mechanical breakdowns and cost to repair 9%
Understanding how to use the technology 5%
Purchase price 3%
Not sure 8%

Public Policy Polling conducted the survey of licensed drivers for AAA Mid-Atlantic on March 27-28, 2018, approximately a week and a half after the highly publicized death of a pedestrian who was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Arizona. The margin of error on this poll is+/-4.0%.

Both Arizona and Delaware have high rates of pedestrian deaths on highways with the First State leading that category. Both see bad behavior from pedestrians as well as a lack of safe walking areas on roads in some populated areas.

Fourteen percent of Delawareans polled said they support Delaware becoming a place for testing driverless vehicles because it would help Delaware set the pace for new technology while 33 percent support testing in Delaware, but want it limited to private testing areas. Another 20 percent said they might support the testing in Delaware, but would want to know that strict standards were in place first, and 30 percent said they do not want to see testing in Delaware.

How do you feel about Delaware becoming a place for testing driverless vehicles?

Support Delaware becoming a place for testing driverless vehicles


Support it, but want it limited to private testing areas instead of public roads


Might support it, but would want to know strict standards were in place first


Do not support it and would want the testing to take place in other states


Not sure


In January, AAA released the results of a nationwide poll regarding autonomous vehicles. In that poll, six out of ten U.S. drivers (63 percent) reported feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. That result is a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017.
“It is difficult to say whether the incident in Arizona might have affected the way people answered questions about the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology, but it may have been on their minds,” saidKen Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs forAAA Mid-Atlantic in Delaware. “Any crash involving an autonomous vehicle, especially involving death or injury, will receive heightened scrutiny; as well it should for the sake of safety. It is incumbent upon manufacturers, technology companies and regulators to continue to work toward ensuring new technology is safe and proper protections are in place for all road users.”
Many of today’s new vehicles have some of the same technology being used in autonomous or partly autonomous vehicles, such as lane departure warning, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and crash avoidance braking. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they do not use these technologies, and, of those who do, the majority use primarily adaptive cruise control.
The AAA survey revealed that the large majority of respondents, 76 percent, would choose not to ride in a driverless car, bus, or shuttle if it were available in their location suggesting that broad public awareness and education campaigns will be crucial to the success of any such deployment.
One of the biggest questions about the impact of an autonomous vehicle is, “How will they change the way people use their vehicles?” The answer to this question will have a significant impact on the way cities and towns plan and pay for their transportation needs in the future. When asked how their vehicle usage habits are likely to change in comparison to their current habits, the majority of respondents, 59 percent, said that they would likely use a driverless vehicle less than they use their current vehicle now.
Another 25 percent said that they would use the driverless vehicle to transport them about the same amount and nine percent said they would use the driverless vehicle to transport them more.
A clear majority, 66 percent, responded that they are very concerned about the security of the data sent to and from autonomous vehicles. Another 18 percent responded that they are somewhat concerned, 11 percent, are not very concerned and three percent are not concerned at all.
How concerned are you about the security of the data sent to and from autonomous vehicles?
Very concerned 66%
Somewhat concerned 18%
Not very concerned 11%
Not concerned at all 3%
Not sure 2%

When asked who should be responsible for liability while riding in a driverless vehicle, 32 percent believe the liability should rest with the car manufacturer, while 17 percent believe it should be the car owner. Twenty-eight percent believe it is the responsibility of the technology company while 11 percent believe it should be the licensed driver.

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