|Drivers becoming more afraid of automated vehicles, AAA says|
Americans are becoming more afraid of automated vehicles, and many misunderstand the capabilities of driver-assist technology, according to a survey released Thursday.
The share of respondents who described themselves as afraid to ride in automated vehicles jumped to 68 percent in AAA's annual automated vehicle survey this year, from 55 percent in the previous year. The survey canvassed roughly 1,000 adults.
"We were not expecting such a dramatic decline in trust from previous years," said Greg Brannon, director of automotive research for AAA. Still, "with the number of high-profile crashes that have occurred from overreliance on current vehicle technologies, this isn't entirely surprising."
The results come as automakers equip vehicles with more advanced driver-assistance features that have grown from automatic emergency braking to sophisticated cruise control systems that allow for some hands-free and foot-free driving.
The survey also illustrated some misunderstanding of driver-assist technology. One in 10 drivers said they thought they could purchase vehicles that can drive themselves while the driver is asleep. No such vehicle is on the market, and the survey release suggested that response could be related to "misleading or confusing names of vehicle systems" such as Tesla's Autopilot, Volvo's Pilot Assist and Nissan's ProPilot Assist. AAA said 22 percent of the respondents believed names like those describe features that allow the car to drive itself without any human supervision.
Still, most people who responded to the survey would "definitely" or "probably" want driver-assist technology such as automatic braking and blind-spot warning in their next car despite their fear and confusion.
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— Molly Boigon