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Advancing autonomous vehicles despite low consumer trust

As more new vehicles includes advanced technological features, consumers may wonder how soon roads will be full of completely self-driving vehicles. Trust in these vehicles continues to remain low, despite ongoing development and testing.

For several years, reports about the development of self-driving vehicles have touted the benefits of removing the human factor from driving. The ability to reduce or even eliminate motor vehicle accidents may entice people, especially with more than 36,000 vehicular fatalities recorded in 2018 alone. However, the fact remains that the average driver remains wary of fully autonomous cars.

In late summer 2019, the World Economic Forum reported that two out of three U.S. consumers stated their refusal to purchase a fully autonomous vehicle according to a poll by Reuters/Ipsos. One in two even believed these vehicles were more dangerous than their human-driven counterparts.

One year later, TechTarget provided insights from another study finding that a mere 15% of consumers felt comfortable with self-driving cars.

Multiple levels of autonomous technology

As explained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, technology in cars is not really new and comes in many forms. Even cruise control, something common for several decades now, offers a level of autonomous operation in a vehicle.

Six distinct levels of autonomous function range from no automated capabilities, as in level 0, to a vehicle capable of driving in any condition without a human present, as in level 6. In level 5, a vehicle may operate sans a human driver but only in limited conditions or situations. A great many new vehicles rolling off manufacturing floors today include level 3 or level 4 automation.

Concerns vary from testing to reliability

Curbed magazine indicates that while some people question the reliability of the technologies used in self-driving vehicles or features, others raise issues relating to the testing of these automobiles. In theory, technologies like sensors and software programs that eliminate the ability for a human driver to make a reckless choice or fail to react quickly should improve safety.

Unfortunately, some research studies show significant gaps in technology’s ability to work as promised. One AAA study evaluated multiple vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems. Knowing that the majority of pedestrian deaths occur at night, the study included some test scenarios in dark conditions. The results suffered to the point that AAA declared the technologies completely ineffective at night.

In daylight conditions, the best test result still ended up in pedestrian impacts in 60% of scenarios.

Florida residents deserve to be safe

Whether as a driver, passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian, every person in Florida deserves to feel safe when on the road or sidewalks. As technology continues to make its way into more new vehicles, people should remain firm in their right for assistance and compensation when accidents happen. Talking with an attorney after these incidents is always recommended to best assess the options available.