According to the results of AAA’s annual automated vehicle survey, interest in partially-automated vehicle technology remains high, but attitudes toward fully self-driving vehicles have become increasingly apprehensive. This year, the survey found a major increase in drivers who are afraid, rising to 68% compared to 55% in 2022, representing a 13% jump from last year’s survey and the biggest increase since 2020.
AAA’s Director of Automotive Research, Greg Brannon, commented on the findings, saying, “We were not expecting such a dramatic decline in trust from previous years. Although with the number of high-profile crashes that have occurred from over-reliance on current vehicle technologies, this isn’t entirely surprising.”
The survey also found that nearly one in ten drivers believe they can buy a vehicle that drives itself while they sleep. Currently, no such vehicle is available for purchase by the public that would allow someone to fully disengage from the task of driving.
AAA believes automakers must be diligent in creating an environment that promotes the use of more advanced vehicle technologies in a secure, reliable, and educational manner. This includes the consistent naming of vehicle systems available to consumers today. The survey found that 22% of Americans expect driver support systems, with names like Autopilot, ProPILOT, or Pilot Assist, to have the ability to drive the car by itself without any supervision, indicating a gap in consumer understanding.
While the survey shows that consumers aren’t entirely opposed to advanced vehicle technology, with six in ten U.S. drivers expressing interest in having advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in their next car purchase, improvements are still needed to build public trust and knowledge surrounding emerging vehicle technology.
“AAA seeks to partner with automakers to create greater consistency across the industry. Together, we can help consumers understand the type of technology their vehicle has along with how, when and where to use these systems, which will ultimately build trust in the vehicles of the future,” said Brannon.
The survey was conducted January 13-17, 2023, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone.
A total of 1,140 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older, of which 949 qualified for the study. The margin of error for the study overall is 4.3% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.