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Three-quarters of U.S. drivers fear riding in self-driving vehicle


Consumers aren't quite ready to fully embrace the self-driving car, according to a new survey from AAA.

The survey found that three out of four American drivers are afraid of the technology.

"I think it's the lack of control,” said Kerry Donnelly, a driver safety expert with Western New York AAA. “People want to stop the car when they want to stop it. They want to feel like they can steer away from danger, not trusting that the car is going to make the same decision or the correct decision."

She said drivers who own vehicles equipped with semi-autonomous features are, on average, 75 percent more likely to trust the technology than those who do not. In fact, two-thirds of those who responded to the survey said they wanted semi-autonomous features on their car, such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control or self-parking technology.

Donnelly said safety can be improved in the future by designating certain roads and lanes for fully automated vehicles.

"Right now, some of the dangers involve thinking drivers who are doing all the action and these cars that maybe can't predict what a human being is going to do."

Other findings from the survey: 

  • Sixty-three percent of millennials and 62 percent of Generation Xers say they don’t want to pay more for semi-autonomous technology, compared to 49 percent of baby boomers.
  • Twenty-three percent of female drivers said the technology is too complicated to use, compared to 12 percent of male drivers.