Drivers’ Fear of Self-Driving Cars Remains Strong

 Drivers’ Fear of Self-Driving Cars Remains Strong
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Providence, RI, March 14 , 2024A new survey from AAA on autonomous vehicles (AVs) shows most U.S. drivers express fear (66%) or uncertainty (25%) regarding fully self-driving vehicles – continuing a lack-of-trust trend that peaked last year. However, interest in semi-autonomous technologies such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keeping Assistance remains high. The results suggest that to gain consumers’ trust, the industry must continue to advance vehicle technologies reasonably and improve their performance. 

“Consumer skepticism of autonomous vehicles is not surprising, given the recalls and well-publicized incidents that occurred last year,” said Jillian Young, Director of Public Relations for AAA Northeast. “It’s critical that drivers understand both the capabilities and limitations of technology in their cars and how, when, and where to use the systems properly.”

While many drivers are afraid of autonomous vehicles, they do want advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). AAA’s survey found that almost two-thirds of U.S. drivers want Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking (65%), Automatic Emergency Braking (63%), or Lane Keeping Assistance (62%) on their next vehicle.


However, many drivers overestimate the capabilities of these systems. Most U.S. drivers believe AEB will stop the vehicle when another car, child, adult pedestrian, or bicyclist are in front of or behind the vehicle. However, recent AAA research found that Reverse AEB systems prevented a collision in only 1 of 40 test runs in backing-up scenarios involving a vehicle crossing behind the test vehicle, and in only 10 out of 20 test runs with a dummy representing a stationary child behind the test vehicle. These results show that the systems are not a replacement for an engaged and alert driver.


Drivers also have misconceptions about the prevalence of AVs. Although fully self-driving vehicles are not yet available for purchase by consumers, four in ten drivers believe they could buy an AV today that will drive itself while they are sleeping.


“With advancements across so many types of vehicle technology, it’s easy to see how driver misconceptions arise,” said Young. “Uniformity in system naming and performance across the industry can go a long way toward educating drivers.”

To learn more about ADAS, AAA offers the following resources:



The survey was conducted January 11-16, 2024 and includes responses from 1,010 U.S. adults.

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