Electronics and Semiconductors

AAA: Autonomous vehicle fear remains among consumers

18 March 2024
Source: AAA

American driver fears surrounding autonomous vehicles have not decreased over the past year due in part to well publicized accidents involving these automated vehicles. The good news is that U.S. drivers are very interested in semi-autonomous safety technologies, according to a new survey from AAA.

Among these safety technologies, reverse automatic emergency braking (AEB), automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance were very popular in the AAA survey. AAA said that due to these results the industry should continue to advance vehicle technologies reasonably and with overall consistency in performance.

"There has been an increase in consumer fear over the past few years," said Greg Brannon, the director of automotive engineering research for AAA. "Given the numerous and well-publicized incidents involving current vehicle technologies - it's not surprising that people are apprehensive about their safety.”

These incidents include an accident with Cruise Automation, the autonomous driving arm of General Motors, and recent issues with Waymo.

ADAS performance and confusion

In the AAA survey, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) proved popular among American consumers; however, the technologies may not be clearly explained to drivers.

Most U.S. drivers believe that AEB will stop the vehicle when another car, pedestrian or bicyclist is in front or behind the car. However, AAA found that reverse AEB only prevented a collision in 1 out of 40 test runs when a vehicle was backing up and a pedestrian was crossing behind the vehicle. And only 10 out 20 test runs found the technology prevented a collision with a stationary child target behind the vehicle.

Additionally, four out of 10 drivers believe or are unsure if they can buy a car that drives itself while they sleep. This represents a significant safety concern, AAA said.

To help with the popularity of ADAS, automotive OEMs need to reflect reasonable and safe scenarios with an understanding of the limitations. These ADAS technologies should enhance a driver rather than replace a vigilant driver, AAA said.

"AAA wants to collaborate with automakers to establish uniformity in system naming and performance across the industry,” Brannon said. “By working together, we can assist consumers in understanding the technology present in their vehicles and educate them on how, when and where to use such systems properly. This initiative will help instill confidence in the drivers of the cars of tomorrow, which may be equipped with greater levels of automated technologies."

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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