Autonomous cars scare Americans

According to the latest poll by the American Automobile Association, 71% of Americans say they are afraid to board an autonomous car. A percentage is as high as the previous year that demonstrates the great communication efforts that must be made around this technology.

The United States is one of the countries where the development of the autonomous car is the most supported and the most visible of the general public. California, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have licensed driverless vehicles on their roads.

Last December, Google opened the Waymo One stand-alone taxi service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. And despite this, a majority of Americans are still afraid of the autonomous car.

This is revealed by a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association which shows that 71% of 1,008 people surveyed by phone say they are afraid to board a car. This percentage is only slightly lower than the previous survey last year, where 73% of respondents expressed the same feeling. In 2017, mistrust was a little weaker with “only” 63% of respondents saying they were afraid of the autonomous car.

The fatal accident of autonomous taxi Uber marked the spirits

How to explain this rise? The most likely cause is undoubtedly the accident that involved an autonomous Uber taxi in March 2018 during which a pedestrian was overthrown and killed. This is the first fatal accident that has created a shock in opinion. It will probably take time and a lot of pedagogy on the part of the actors involved to overcome fears and make the speech that a car driven by algorithms is much safer.

One of the tracks that emerge from the American Automobile Association’s survey is that this evangelization work will be done progressively through the assistance of driving assistance systems (trajectory maintenance, emergency braking, angle detection death regulator of speed-adaptive …) which start to popularize. According to the survey, 68% of people who already use one of these technologies in their car are more likely to trust an autonomous car.