It’s the wave of the future that some Americans anticipate – self-driving vehicles. Yet due to a slew of fatal crashes caused by system defects, an underlying fear encompasses the rollout of this technology.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted a survey, which found that roughly 71 percent of participants are not comfortable with riding in fully autonomous vehicles.
What once seemed like a futuristic certainty was stalled when a fatal pedestrian accident involving a self-driving Uber made national headlines. The crash, which happened in Phoenix, AZ, was reportedly attributed to the emergency braking system being disabled. In addition, the occupant of the vehicle was never alerted of the pedestrian, nor was she being attentive.
This accident raised concerns among the general public, as well as safety advocates. Considering the fatal crash, Uber put a stop to testing autonomous vehicles in California.
Safety concerns regarding autonomous technology
One thing the public can agree on is that semi-autonomous technology – also known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – is already coming standard on most new vehicles. Some crash mitigation features found in ADAS systems include adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, blind spot detection, collision avoidance, driver drowsiness detection, and lane-departure warnings.
According to the AAA survey, roughly 68 percent of drivers who own vehicles that are equipped with this technology feel conformable using these safety features. Unlike self-driving vehicles, drivers are still as in control of their vehicles as they would be driving a vehicle without the safety features. The safety features simply kick into gear once they detect a potential crash risk.
When it comes to self-driving vehicles, 53 percent of survey participants are comfortable with autonomous vehicles being used at low speeds and for short distances. Another 44 percent of participants believe that self-driving vehicles would be ok to use for making package and/or food deliveries.
Taking baby steps towards public trust
Autonomous vehicles will eventually become the norm but ushering in this emerging technology will take “baby steps,” according to Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations.
“Hands-on exposure in more controlled, low-risk environments coupled with stronger education will play a key role in easing fears about self-driving cars,” he said.
While 55 percent of survey participants believed that autonomous vehicles will be the norm by 2029, many also believed that drivers will be reluctant to abandon the task of driving. Currently, more testing needs to be done in order to safely roll this technology out and win public trust.
As we have seen with the Phoenix Uber crash that killed a pedestrian, accidents with autonomous vehicles, even those just being tested, are possible. Should you or a loved one be injured in a crash, contact the Roanoke auto accident attorneys at Davis, Davis, Davis & Davis, PC today to start your claim.