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AI Transportation Technology News

AAA: 75% Of Drivers Say They Wouldn't Feel Safe In An Autonomous Vehicle (consumerist.com) 519

kheldan writes: While technology companies and car manufacturers alike are rushing to test their own autonomous vehicles, the average American driver doesn't feel quite comfortable with the idea of riding in a driverless car just yet, according to the results of a recent AAA survey. AAA's survey of 1,800 drivers found that 75% of current drivers say they wouldn't feel safe in a self-driving vehicle. But it's worth noting that 60% of those surveyed said they would like access to some kind of self-driving feature, such as self-parking, lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control or automatic emergency braking the next time they buy a new car.
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AAA: 75% Of Drivers Say They Wouldn't Feel Safe In An Autonomous Vehicle

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  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:15PM (#51619377)

    They wouldn't feel safe in a mechanical beast.

    Lets see, a computer with a sample rate of 1000 Hz always on, always watching 360 degrees or Grandma that hasn't had to renew her license since she started losing vision or a teenager trying to take a selfie.

    I don't care if it takes twice as long to get anywhere (30 MPH max), as long as I can turn my brain off and do something else I'm happy.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:30PM (#51619457)

      1. Response time is only a small part of the equation.
      2. It's not all about what YOU want.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @12:17AM (#51619645)

        1. Response time is only a small part of the equation.

        Actually, response time is a pretty big part of the equation. Even a one second faster response can avoid many accidents, and greatly reduce the severity of others. Only situational awareness is more important, and computers win there too.

        • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

          Only situational awareness is more important, and computers win there too.

          You couldn't be more wrong on this.

          Also, if reaction time were that important, than teenagers would be safer drivers than the elderly. Obviously, if it's way off, (say by intoxication), accident rates go up, but the difference between 20ms and 200 is lost in the noise of being able to see that obstacle for what it is long before 20ms reactions are needed.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        I think when we look back we'll see the near universal adoption of smartphones as a watershed event in the history of transportation. Yes, it's not all about what GP wants, but it's not all about what you think people ought to want, either.

        It's about what critical masses of people want, and what a lot of them seem to want is to spend as much time as possible with their noses glued to their mobile devices. This makes both autonomous cars and public transit a lot more desirable. My children are 17-20 years

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Even modern airline pilots don't like the idea of not having overrides on their planes. No one likes the idea of surrendering all human autonomy to a machine. We've seen too many software glitches.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @12:12AM (#51619617)

        Even modern airline pilots don't like the idea of not having overrides on their planes.

        You should not draw deep conclusions from people that have a financial interest in their opinions. Of course pilots don't think they should be replaced with software. That doesn't really say anything out the merits of the idea.

      • Nice to see that there are some on Slashdot who are thinking straight. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it: Where human lives are at stake you must have a human being as the final unimpeachable failsafe system, and in an over-the-road vehicle, that means you must have a full set of manual controls, and the operator of said vehicle must be educated, trained, tested, and licensed (as well as insured) at all times. To do otherwise is sheer madness, and so far as I'm concerned, anyone who actually beli
      • Even modern airline pilots don't like the idea of not having overrides on their planes.

        I'd not trust an autonomous car if there were no manual override. Computers may be able to drive better than the average human but the human brain is less prone to a spontaneous crash from an errant cosmic ray flipping a bit when doing 110 km/h down the motorway.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Automotive computers have to be hardened against things like random bit flips. There are a number of ways of doing that, ranging from simply storing every variable twice in two different memory locations to having two identical computers that must agree with each other.

          We are getting to the point where a lot of this can be automated. CPUs that support dual, identical RAM banks with EEC correction. Dual sensors with error detection built in.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @12:03AM (#51619587)

      I don't care if it takes twice as long to get anywhere ... as long as I can turn my brain off and do something else I'm happy.

      This is why I take transit to work.

      This, plus the fact that a lot of the people still driving seem to have turned their brains off as well.

      • This, plus the fact that a lot of the people still driving seem to have turned their brains off as well.

        I'm a freakin amazingly good driver if you look at my record or ride with me, but I know how often I've nearly been in a wreck. I know how many times I've done something stupid. I always check my blind spot, but not always before putting my signal on and starting to drift toward the lane I'm moving into, and I can recall all too clearly seeing someone there I was drifting toward, not once but twice (twice!!) in the last year.

        A month ago, I was exhausted but drove anyway.

        I'm a courteous, thoughtful, attentiv

    • Software bugs.
      Hardware failures (yeah, redundant systems).
      Hacking.
      Government surveillance.
      Likely many more issues.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Come on get serious, I will only feel safe in an autonomous vehicle after having read the warranty and seeing in writing that the programmers involved will kill themselves should a bug in the code kill or even severely injure me ie I will trust the code as much as the programmers who wrote that code trust their own code, just saying.

    • by Zeio ( 325157 )

      These cretins fly on planes all the time on autopilot. This trash of people being against self driving is just an emotional reaction by people who have no control over their lives and want to pretend they have a "vote" or a horse in the self driving race.

      Efficiency and safety will go up by a LOT with automation of driving. Resistance is more or less luddite-ism. For me, having 3-kids being able to be self driven for MORE activities is way better than having to split work and kids and pick winners and losers

      • by RoboJ1M ( 992925 )

        Other things self driving cars will do (apart from erode liberties apparently *laughs*)

        1) Automatically drive to where *you* are and pick you up.
        2) Drive you home if you're drunk.
        3) No parking in the centre of town? No problem, car drops you off and goes home
        4) Done shopping? Car picks you up, or collects the shopping.
        5) Taxis? Out of business.
        6) Uber? How about your car earns you money ferrying people about while your sat at your desk at work.
        7) Highway speeds? 200mph, manual drive cars are banned.

        I look f

        • 6) Uber? How about your car earns you money ferrying people about while your sat at your desk at work.

          It'll be hilarious the first time somebody figures out how to hack the car to claim ownership.

          "Sir--Sir, please stop hotwiring me. I am calling the authorities."

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:16PM (#51619385)

    When the automobile first arrived on the scene, many of the people who shouted "get a horse" in the wake of a "stink wagon" likely would have expressed a fear of going for a ride in one. We humans tend to be conservative that way; up to a point, it's a survival trait.

  • by pjrc ( 134994 ) <paul@pjrc.com> on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:17PM (#51619389) Homepage Journal

    Well that's a pretty amazing endorsement of autonomous vehicles, if *already* 25% of the population is accepting of a new technology they haven't yet experienced.

    • Well that's a pretty amazing endorsement of autonomous vehicles, if *already* 25% of the population is accepting of a new technology they haven't yet experienced.

      Strikingly similar to the 20 percent voting paradigm.

    • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

      Well that's a pretty amazing endorsement of autonomous vehicles, if *already* 25% of the population is accepting of a new technology they haven't yet experienced.

      Millennials.

      I'd like to go into every single humanities class at my alma mater and start showing them a lot of 1970's and '80s sci-fi. It's like they've never even been exposed to the concept that it's possible for technology to fail spectacularly.

    • TFA does not say that 25% feel safe, but that 75% do not. The other 25% contains undecided, and people who just don't care to answer polls as well as those who "feel" safe. The sample size is a whopping 1800 people in a specific geographic location, so you are not really getting a good sample in numbers that low. Was the criteria for the car was defined to all parties, such that it was 100% autonomous with no ability for human intervention, or partial like the Google car? Or more likely it was left open

  • Company that will be redundant in a world of autonomous cars produces survey that shows people won't accept the very thing that will make it redundant. Film at 11.
    • To clarify why the AAA will be redundant: the most likely scenario for adoption of autonomous cars is that individuals will not own them. Instead, people will sign up for a car service.

      If you are paying for a service, you don't need most of the products and services that AAA offers.

      • My car insurance already includes the important part of what AAA offers: Roadside assistance.

        Otherwise... they have a travel agent. I haven't used one of those since airline ticket bookings went on line. They offer passport photos, which I can get just about anywhere. They have 'emergency check cashing' but I haven't carried a checkbook in a decade. There are insurance benefits, but I've already got insurance. There are route planning services,but Google Maps has that covered.

        So unless you're going to buy e

        • AAA (I have a "plus" membership which has extra goodies to make it worth while, esp, the 100 miles free towing) has bent over backwards to take care of me, including being willing to send a flat bed tow truck down from Georgia (I'm in N Fla about 90 miles from the border) for my antique Porsche. When I had a truck stolen, they offered to pay hotels, etc (I was camping, so I was good, but the offer was impressive) and when it was recovered they paid the towing and recovery costs.

          • AAA (I have a "plus" membership which has extra goodies to make it worth while, esp, the 100 miles free towing)

            And then there's the Premier membership which includes one 200 mile tow along with up to three 100 mile tows per year. I don't know of any insurance-provided roadside assistance program that offers a comparable benefit. A single 200 mile tow would make up for several years' worth of membership fees.
        • My car insurance already includes the important part of what AAA offers: Roadside assistance.

          Actually rather than the AA/CAA/AAA (*AA) being redundant it will surely be insurers who become unnecessary. If your car is being driven by some Google algorithm then how can you be liable for a crash? The car should probably come with insurance, at least while driven under the supplied algorithm. I would expect that the *AA will actually do better out of this because people will not get roadside assistance with their insurance and will need to purchase it separately.

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      Company that will be redundant in a world of autonomous cars produces survey that shows people won't accept the very thing that will make it redundant.

      Film at 11.

      Look at their demographics and their survey results make sense:

      http://www.aaapublishingnetwor... [aaapublishingnetwork.com]

      Median Age: 54
      69% of members are age 55+
      10% of members are age 18-34

      Older people are naturally going to reject new technology, my parents have never gotten an ATM card, when they need cash, they go to a bank and cash a check, like they always did. And they carry vast sums (in my eyes) of cash around with them -- dad has over $500 in his wallet (mostly in 100's tucked in a "hidden" picket), *and* he has another th

  • Tesla owners with Tesla's not-quite-autonomous cruise control really love it. The 75% will feel differently in 5 years, I predict.
  • The tech just isn't good enough yet.

    Yet being the key word there.

    • The tech just isn't good enough yet.

      Yet being the key word there.

      Is the tech going to respond properly to mechanical failures?

  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:19PM (#51619413) Journal

    And 80% of Americans are better than average drivers.

  • Did we really need an actuary to report these stats, or is this just the hard sell on new auto insurance products to cover your every fear. Clearly there is anxiety whenever a change is proposed. Its universally true, in general, and makes this information very mundane.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:26PM (#51619435)

    How many feel safe in a car driven by a stranger (taxi or otherwise)?
    I know I personally feel safer when I'm driving my car at high speeds on the highway compared to riding with someone else driving.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      That's right. It's about taking as much control away as possible without having us frogs jump out of the pot.

  • I wouldn't feel safe in an autonomous vehicle, not yet. Yes, their current safety record is impressive, but it's fake. However, it won't be long before they're ready.

    • Yes, their current safety record is impressive, but it's fake.

      It's not fake it is just statistically limited in the same way that Concorde went from being the safest commercial passenger plane on record to the most dangerous with one crash.

      • For the distance driven by autonomous cars, human drivers would statistically have had a couple dozen crashes already. The self-driving cars have been involved in a few crashes, all due to failure of humans, and that number is statistically low. There's now just one incident where the driverless car may have been responsible (but from what I read about it, that's debatable).

        Concorde had only a very limited number of flights compared to other aircraft types and airplane crashes are extremely rare, so one inc

        • Instead the autonomous vehicle is already many crashes behind on the average human driver...

          When purchasing such a car though the question I really want to know is not whether it is better than the average human driver but whether it is better than me. Being simply "better than average" does not inspire much confidence when you see what the "average" driver is like sometimes. Is it safer than 75% of people? 90%? 99? 99.999%? etc.

          If it is only better than 75% of drivers I'm probably going to tell myself that I can drive better than it can. However if it is better than 99.999% of drivers even if

          • Some 99% of accidents are caused by human error. An autonomous vehicle will be able to prevent almost all of those errors - especially those from the vehicle it controls, and will be able to correct for lots of errors from other vehicles and other traffic (e.g. pedestrians, cyclists) in the process.

            There'll always be situations that a human would have solved differently, maybe preventing an accident, and of course everyone will be talking about that one incident but not about the 100 or even 1000 incidents

  • Wow they found a study done by a company that sells auto accident insurance that doesn't like a self driving future. Wow. Stop the presses. What next Pop makes you thin? Cigarettes are good for healthy lungs. Vodka to help babies sleep?

    I have repeatedly stated that the best part of Self Driving Cars will be the war on them declared by the many parties that are going to lose big when they come. Insurance companies are going to lead the charge, but I can even see traffic cops realizing that their days are n
  • Wrong question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @11:39PM (#51619499) Homepage
    Here are the right questions.

    Would you feel safer if your 17 year old / 71 year old / relative./neighbor rode in a driverless car or a drove themselves.

    Also, would you feel safer in a NYC cab driven by an immigrant or in a driverless car.

  • They're only of average intelligence. Who cares what most people think? Kind of hard to argue with science.

  • Seriously, these fuckers decided to send someone, only to have the fucker turn around and leave about halfway to us. Thank you AAA for leaving two people out in the desert, stranded, and having to rely upon BLM/911 for an emergency evac because your driver's shit truck can't handle a little dirt washboard road maintained by the BLM (meanwhile my low-riding Taurus had no problems on the road whatsoever, until it kicked a rock up into the transmission oil pan.)

    AAA is bullshit through and through, much like th

  • Considering how well Trump is doing I am suprised safety ranks in the concerns of the average American at all.
  • Driving is all about having absolute control over your vehicle. From the minute we get behind the wheel, we're taught that a moment's loss of control is fatal (with good reason).
    For an experienced driver, surrendering that control is nightmare-inducing... For myself, the first time I used cruise control was unsettling - it felt like the car was getting out of hand - it took a while getting used to.
    Surrendering control of the brake will be harder.. let alone the wheel itself.
  • by edjs ( 1043612 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @01:54AM (#51619939)

    Are they the same 75% of people who feel they have above average driving skills?

  • They don't. That's why they're AAA members! You're asking people who self-select as scared or worried drivers if they'd be worried about a new paradigm? Wow. I'm surprised that 25% *didn't* piss themselves at the thought of autonomous vehices.
    • I'm a AAA member because I tend to drive beaters. I'm a plus member because I live in the sticks. I don't have AAA insurance because I'm not old yet (only seniors get halfway-decent rates from them, in spite of all their medicated driving) and because AAA is the insurance company you hope the other guy has, not you.

  • by A Friendly Troll ( 1017492 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:48AM (#51620165)

    And 99% of those 75% would very likely subjectively classify themselves as "above average" or "excellent" drivers.

  • by Torp ( 199297 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @06:40AM (#51620663)

    75% of drivers think they're in the top 10% of driving skills.

    What worries me though is that no one mentions the famous Google self driving cars will only work in the small areas that they have pre mapped and pre recorded routes for. Self driving is just a marketing term for now.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @06:44AM (#51620675)

    People do not like change, unless they initiate it themselves.

    News at 11.

    There is a huge difference between "who wants change" and "who wants to change".

  • by Leslie43 ( 1592315 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @08:13AM (#51620989)
    We had this discussion at the local hackerspace and got only slightly better results, which I thought was surprising for people who thrive on technology.

    However... When it was rephrased as: "If you could have an automous car, but it could only go 45mph and use special lanes in autonomous mode, would you want it?" Suddenly the numbers shot way up. Seems many don't trust mixing humans and autonomous, especially at high speed. As people starting thinking of the benefits to this, even at slower speeds, the numbers went up and up until all but the most staunch opponents were left and even they wavered.

    This is not far off from how cars got accepted as well.
    Automakers started pushing the idea that streets were meant for cars, not foot traffic or horses (look up the origins of jaywalking), once the public was convinced, it went from there. The same can very easily happen with autonomous vehicles.
  • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @09:12AM (#51621237) Homepage

    In related news, a ABA (American Buggy Association) survey conducted soon after motorized buggies first started appearing showed that 75% of riders wouldn't feel safe riding in a buggy powered by an internal combustion engine.

    You'd have to be crazy to deliberately sit on a device that was violently exploding thousands of times a minute. Why on earth would you want to put your self in such danger and get rid of the tried-and-true reliable horse?

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @10:19AM (#51621539)
    Considering 100% of humans are at least in part scared of anything new. 25% acceptance years before this technology is ready is pretty good.

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