Autonomous Cars Autonomous car survey AAA

Published on March 10th, 2017 | by Steve Hanley

California Updates Autonomous Car Rules; Drivers Nervous About Self Driving Cars

March 10th, 2017 by  
 

The California Department of Motor Vehicles this week proposed new rules for the 31 companies presently engaged in autonomous car testing within the state. The public has until April 25 to comment on the proposed changes. If approved, the new rules would allow an autonomous car to operate without a human driver on board. Until now, a real person had to ride along and be available to take over the controls in an emergency. The car would also be allowed to pick up passengers, provided no compensation is involved. Here’s the draft rule:

Autonomous car survey AAA

“Passenger” means an occupant of a vehicle who has no role in the operation of that vehicle when the autonomous technology is engaged. A passenger may summon a vehicle or input a destination, but does not engage the technology, monitor the vehicle, or drive or operate the vehicle. A member of the public may ride as a passenger in an autonomous test vehicle if there are no fees charged to the passenger or compensation received by the manufacturer.

While manufacturers seem to be dead set against electric cars, they are rushing headlong toward developing self driving cars. If that seems contradictory — a self driving car will almost certainly be electric — perhaps the answer is that car companies think they will rake in piles of cash from people willing to pay to get from Point A to Point B and back again. On the other hand, no one except Tesla believes there are profits to be made from selling electric cars directly to private buyers.

The public is not quite so fired up about autonomous cars, however. A new survey released by AAA this week finds that nearly three quarters of those surveyed report feeling afraid of sharing the road with autonomous cars. Only 10% said they would feel safer sharing the road with self driving cars.

“A great race towards autonomy is underway and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.”

The survey found that 59% of drivers like the idea of driver assist technology such as self parking, lane following, and auto pilot. “US drivers may experience the driver-assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver – and they’re correct,” said Brannon. “While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”

This cognitive dissonance — “Yes, I like technology that makes driving safer; no, I don’t like the idea of cars that drive themselves” — suggests a transition period will be needed  before drivers become accustomed to self driving cars, but the process may be slower than many in the industry think. Elon Musk says someday autonomous cars will be as common as self service elevators (and about as much fun, Elon!) but the AAA findings suggest that day is still far in the future.

Source: Autoblog   Graphic credit: AAA

 





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About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.



  • Jim Smith

    ” A member of the public may ride as a passenger in an autonomous test vehicle if there are no fees charged to the passenger or compensation received by the manufacturer.”

    that is a nice landmine to protect the taxi cab industry. Cronyism needs to die.

  • Joe Viocoe

    “On the other hand, no one except Tesla believes there are profits to be made from selling electric cars directly to private buyers”

    That’s patently false. Just because automakers aren’t as bullish and optimistic as Tesla, doesn’t mean the other automakers believe EVs are a waste of time.

    • Steve Hanley

      And that’s why so many companies are rushing electric cars to market, huh?

      • Joe Viocoe

        It’s not black and white. Rushing vs. standing still. That’s hyperbolic.
        Automakers are being cautious, but moving forward because they know it’s the future.
        There is no evidence that all non-Tesla automakers believe EVs can’t be profitable.

        You are letting Tesla’s rapid pace skew your definition of what other automakers are doing.

        • Peter Duncan

          It is autonomous driving that is pushing harder on ICE car makers to go electric. Otherwise they would still try to kill them with overpriced, ill ranged hybrids.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Yet Nissan went global with a full EV way before autonomous cars were on the radar.

          • Peter Duncan

            Yes it did… in 1998 with the 90 EPA miles Altra-EV. Then they did it for real. Not with the Leaf. They could have done 200 miles 5 years ago with the Leaf, thay could have sold 10 times more at a better price IF they would REALLY wanted to commit to EVs… but they didn’t.
            The same goes for all fake “efforts” from ICE car makers.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Hindsight and all that.
            The Leaf was still a huge risk at 74 mile range EPA. You cannot go by what was done by an R&D team or for a concept car. That is not how the automotive industry works.

            But I agree that we could have been where we are now, 10 years ago… if automakers were willing to take the risks. Luckily Tesla came along to show that a startup could out maneuver the big boys.

  • Joe Viocoe

    “The public is not quite so fired up about autonomous cars, however. A new survey released by AAA this week finds that nearly three quarters of those surveyed report feeling afraid of sharing the road with autonomous cars. Only 10% said they would feel safer sharing the road with self driving cars.”

    Again, this is a biased group.
    AAA members are like AARP members… A subset of the driving population, typically the older generation, risk adverse, and afraid of change.

    • Peter Duncan

      Here in Canada, (and in northern States) the CAA is in conflict of interests, as they make a lot of money from boosting dead batteries on cars failling to start in the cold.
      A non-issue with electrics and hybrids.

  • Joe Viocoe

    “Source: Autoblog”

    Please don’t write articles based on that unjournalistic rag of a blog. They’ve got a serious anti EV agenda, and hate autonomous vehicles.
    Their audience are petrolheads who fear change.

    • Peter Duncan

      “typically the older generation, risk adverse, and afraid of change”
      You categorize easily today… but I partially agree with you.

  • mb

    I’d be very nervous driving my brand new Tesla is autonomous mode to work mixed with all the cars driven by people leaving no space in between while on their cell phones, drinking coffee, shaving, putting up their makeup etc. Although not necessarily more than usual. I might have less of a reason to get upset as I know I have the extra safety and they have not…

    • Joe Viocoe

      Autonomous cars have better visibility with small clearance driving.

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