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AAA survey shows drivers more welcoming to self-driving cars

Special to the Legal News

Published: February 1, 2018

While Ohio recently increased efforts to become a hub for autonomous vehicle research, drivers are starting to warm up to the technology.

The number of drivers afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has decreased to sixty-three percent from 78 percent in early 2017, according to annual survey from AAA Auto Club.

"Americans are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles," stated AAA Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Director Greg Brannon. "Compared to just a year ago, AAA found that 20 million more U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride."

AAA has conducted the survey since 2016 to understand consumer attitude towards self-driving vehicles.

Among other findings, 46 percent of drivers would feel less safe sharing the road with fully self-driving cars, while they drive a regular car compared with 54 percent in 2017 and 51 percent want the technology in their next vehicle, down from 59 percent.

Additionally, drivers report high confidence in their own driving abilities despite that more than 90 percent of crashes involve human error. Overall, 73 percent of drivers consider themselves better-than-average drivers.

"AAA found that American drivers are very confident in their driving abilities, which may explain some hesitation to give up full control to a self-driving vehicle," Brannon said. "Education, exposure and experience will likely help ease consumer fears as we steer toward a more automated future."

Columbus ranked as the seventh worst city for driving, while Ohio ranked as 14th worst state, according to studies from QuoteWizard, an online platform to compare insurance quotes.

AAA has committed to previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems, which show "great promise and great variation" according to a company press release.

The company will test how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation in the future.

Earlier this week, Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order to establish DriveOhio center as one-stop hub to bring the state's infrastructure builders with those developing advance connected and autonomous vehicle technologies researching.

"Just as the Wright Brothers gave birth to flight here in Ohio, we are positioning the state to lead on developing the vehicles, highways and smart transportation technologies of the future," Kasich stated. "Our goal is to make Ohio the premier destination for researchers, developers and manufacturers to test, build and deploy advanced mobility solutions that will make our roads safer and less congested."

DriveOhio will be based within the Ohio Department of Transportation and will have an expert advisory board of industry leaders and researchers in the automotive, telecommunications, software development, insurance, data and cyber security industries.

Earlier this week ODOT requested proposals from engineering, technology and data companies to compete for a contract to develop the framework for statewide technology and data for its smart mobility initiative.

The order calls for ODOT to outfit its fleet vehicles with devices to track data for connected-vehicle research.

In addition, autonomous vehicles are a key component to the Smart Columbus, an effort the city launched after it received $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation plus $10 million from Vulcan Inc.

Some of Smart Columbus' initiatives include developing connected technologies to allow communication between vehicles and introducing connected electric autonomous vehicles. For the latter initiative, the city will launch EAVs at Easton Town Center improve safety.

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