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Self-Driving Cars Still Not Trusted By Most American Drivers: Poll

As automobile manufacturers continue to make advancements in autonomous vehicle designs, a new poll has found more than half of U.S. consumers do not trust self-driving vehicles and would refuse to pay a premium for the autonomous feature.

Reuters published a story on April 1 announcing the results of a new autonomous vehicle survey. The findings suggest more than half of consumers do not fully trust autonomous vehicles, while over 60% indicated they would not pay additional funds for the feature to be added to a vehicle.

Researchers indicated many of those surveyed have never been inside of a self-driving vehicle and the suspicion of the unknown may be causing them to question the safety and their willingness to use the technology.

Approximately 50% of consumers did not trust self-driving vehicle technology, while 63% indicated they would not pay for a self-driving feature. The remaining percentage of those surveyed indicated they would not spend more than an additional $2,000.00 for the self-driving feature to be added to a vehicle purchase.

The results of the poll have aligned with previous surveys from Reuters/Ipsos, Pew Research Center, the American Automobile Associations and various others, that all discovered the majority of the population does not trust self-driving technology.

Public mistrust and the unwillingness to pay for the innovative safety technology has become a major concerns for automobile manufacturers. Some experts have projected that depending on which autonomous features are included, self-driving technology could range from $5,000 to $15,000 extra, as an added cost on top of the vehicles base price.

Despite the public’s general mistrust in autonomous vehicles, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated autonomous vehicle technologies that could prevent drivers from veering off the road could save thousands of pedestrian and bicyclists lives annually, and could also prevent collisions from vehicles drifting into oncoming traffic due to distracted driving, such as texting.

According to a previous self-driving vehicles study released by the nonprofit organization RAND, delaying the use of self-driving technology on roadways and highways in the United States could result in a large number of auto accident deaths that could be preventable.

Researchers from the study projected the rapid introduction of self-driving vehicles on public roadways would save thousands of lives over the next 15 years, and possibly hundreds of thousands of lives over the next three decades.

NHTSA officials have been working toward a strategy to safely introduce self-driving vehicles to U.S. roadways, and in September 2018, released a federal guidance, A Vision for Safety 2.0, providing recommendations for the automotive industry and States to follow while developing the evolving technologies used in self-driving vehicles.

Within the guidance, officials estimated 94% of automobile accidents are caused or contributed to by human error that could be preventable once proper self-driving technologies such as lane departure, automatic braking, and various others are sufficient for use.

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