Driverless cars are still a long way off becoming a reality.
Driverless cars are still a long way off becoming a reality.

SURVEY: Seven out of 10 drivers afraid of driverless cars

MOST people remain afraid of driverless cars, according to a new survey released in America.

The survey of 1008 people, conducted by the American Automobile Association, found 71 per cent of respondents "afraid to ride in a driverless car".

The AAA cites "a number of high-profile automated vehicle incidents" as the reason for the scepticism towards autonomous vehicles.

With almost three quarters of respondents afraid of tech heading to cars now, the figure remains higher than two years earlier, when just 63 per cent admitted to being afraid of driverless technology.

"Automated vehicle technology is evolving on a very public stage and, as a result, it is affecting how consumers feel about it," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering and industry relations.

Most road users currently wouldn’t want to ride in a driverless car.
Most road users currently wouldn’t want to ride in a driverless car.

He said exposing people to and educating them on the driver assist technologies increasingly common in new vehicles was a crucial step in the acceptance of driverless systems.

"Having the opportunity to interact with partially or fully automated vehicle technology will help remove some of the mystery for consumers and open the door for greater acceptance."

The survey reinforces one of the challenges faced by car makers in the transition to autonomous technology - convincing people it is safe.

While Tesla boss Elon Musk has previously expressed his frustration that driverless car crashes make headlines, the reality is many people still expect a computer-controlled car to be 100 per cent safe, rather than simply safer than humans.

Tesla is focusing on bringing automation to its vehicles.
Tesla is focusing on bringing automation to its vehicles.

Not that fully autonomous cars are about to take over the roads in the next few years.

While driverless tech was touted as being close to release, the reality has been more sobering.

Many luxury cars now have level two autonomy, as defined by America's Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

It includes partial automation in some situations, but still requires a driver to be in control at all times, something most level two cars warn drivers of.

The dream of full autonomy - known as level five - appears many years away.

Last month BMW and Mercedes-Benz - two of the most advanced manufacturers with driverless technology - announced they would be joining forces on the development of autonomous technologies.

However, the two German automotive giants are only forecasting level four autonomy by 2025.

The goal of having no driver at all appears well beyond that.



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