Ford Authority

Self-Driving Cars Scaring More People Than Ever: Study

Though it ultimately chose to shut down Argo AI – an autonomous vehicle tech company that it backed financially – Ford hasn’t given up on the idea of self-driving cars, instead shifting its focus to Level 2 and 3 autonomy rather than Level 4 and 5, with a Level 3 version of BlueCruise currently in development. The Blue Oval has since established two entities to work on this tech – Ford Next and Latitude AI, the latter of which is staffed with 550 former Argo AI employees. However, there are many more hurdles to overcome before self-driving cars are viable, including regulatory-related ones, and, it seems, the consensus of the general public, according to a new study from AAA.

AAA Automotive Survey Driver Attitudes Toward Self-Driving Vehicles

That organization’s latest annual automated vehicle survey – which polled 1,140 U.S. adults ages 18 years or older – found that while many Americans are interested in semi-autonomous driving features, most are growing even more leery of the idea of full self-driving cars. In fact, the percentage of respondents who indicated that they are “scared” of fully autonomous vehicles rose from 55 percent last year to 68 percent this year, which comes as a bit of a surprise to the folks that conducted the study.

“We were not expecting such a dramatic decline in trust from previous years,” said Greg Brannon, director of automotive research for AAA. “Although with the number of high-profile crashes that have occurred from over-reliance on current vehicle technologies, this isn’t entirely surprising.”

Much of this problem, according to AAA, simply stems from confusion over what current autonomous technology is capable of doing. In fact, one in ten drivers surveyed believe that they can buy a vehicle that drives itself while they sleep, though such a thing isn’t yet available to purchase. Additionally, a total of 22 percent of those surveyed believe that current driver support systems have the ability to drive the car by itself without any supervision.

“AAA seeks to partner with automakers to create greater consistency across the industry,” Brannon added. “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.”

We’ll have more on autonomous vehicles soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. John

    Mark me down as completely uninterested in a self driving car. I just want a vehicle that is fun to drive. The new Mustang looks to be that.

  2. hot toddy

    if you need a self driving car, you probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel

  3. Oleh

    To his will open. a can of worms like never before…and with Ford’s current rate of recalls and screw ups will likely end the company as we know it.
    Complete driver retraining will be needed.Cant wait for the ambulance chasers reaction…I can see them circling now……

    1. RWFA

      K-street Oleg with the bad faith happy thoughts “this will be the end of Ford…” such nonsense.

  4. Mark B

    I’ll echo several of the comments above: why do we need to spending untold millions and possibly billions on this technology? I recall safety improvements being one of the benefits being touted when this exploration began. Maybe for interstate transportation if drivers become even more scarce. But individually owned vehicles? I don’t think so. It’s worked so well for Tesla so far?

    1. RWFA

      LoL your premises are that there is no need outside a narrow slice of the motoring public and that the tech as it is can’t ever improve and mature.

      What kind of adult would operate from these two premises? Completely silly take.

  5. Michael J Genzale

    If every vehicle on the road and I mean every one were suddenly all self driving it would be a different reality. Of coarse that is not the case. My fear is how the self driving car interacts with the many morons behind the wheel of non-self driving cars.
    I always remember what Michael Andretti said, on the track regards of the speed, you always knew what the other driver is doing, so you can be inches away from the other car and still be safe. He went on to say when you are public roads it is more dangerous because you just don’t know what other drivers will do. Unpredictable in other words.

    1. RWFA

      If you are inches away from another car on public roads you’re likely in big trouble already.

      Robot cars don’t have to be accident free, they just have to have fewer accidents than driver piloted cars.

      We already know how lousy humans are at controlling vehicles.

  6. Steve Bagstad

    I can think of at least 2 great reasons for self-driving cars: 1) As Michael mentions, many morons = unsafe conditions; so no morons = safer conditions and 2) Less/no need to even own a car, much less many of the huge vehicles on the road now. Just “new Uber” whatever type/size vehicle you need next, it shows up and does the job instead of sitting idle 95% of the time at your home or at work.

    1. RWFA

      Although your two points are valid, there will be privately owned robot cars for folks that aren’t into vehicle sharing.


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