AAA Finds Safety and Reliability of Autonomous Vehicle Technology Remain Top Concerns of Ohio Drivers

CINCINNATI, OH (Wednesday, April 11, 2018) –– As the development and testing of
autonomous vehicle technology continues to progress rapidly, drivers report that their greatest
concerns about the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology are safety and reliability, a
new consumer survey from AAA reveals.
 
The survey revealed that 65 percent, nearly seven out of ten, Ohio drivers say an autonomous
vehicle’s safety and reliability are overwhelming concerns when it comes to adoption of the
technology, followed by mechanical breakdowns/cost of repair at 11 percent, and data and
cybersecurity at seven percent.

Smart Cincy's Zack Huhn noted, "This AAA Survey shows that industry leaders, policy makers, and researchers need to be more active in engaging and educating consumers and constituents about the capabilities of smart mobility solutions including autonomous vehicles. Ultimately, connected technologies and driverless vehicles will reduce traffic related fatalities, drive down the cost of equitable mobility, and enable even our most at need residents a reliable ride to school, work, healthcare, or leisure. It is no secret that human drivers are unsafe, and unreliable. With safety and reliability in mind, I believe we need to do everything we can to support the rapid research and development of vehicles and systems on our roadways. This will require technology updates in our infrastructure and transit systems supported by local policies. We will begin that process in Cincinnati this the year. But it has to start with research. It must help us solve existing problems. And the community must be an active part of the conversation."

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Public Policy Polling conducted the survey of licensed drivers for AAA between March 27-28,
2018, less than two weeks after the highly publicized death of a pedestrian whom was struck
and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Tempe, Arizona.  
 
In January 2018, AAA released the results of a nationwide poll regarding autonomous vehicles.
In that poll, six out of ten U.S. drivers (63 percent) reported feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-
driving vehicle. That result is a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017.
 
“It is difficult to say whether the incident in Arizona might have affected the way people
answered questions about the introduction of autonomous vehicle technology, but it may have
been on their minds,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Any crash involving an
autonomous vehicle, especially involving death or injury, will receive heightened scrutiny; as
well it should for the sake of safety. It is incumbent upon manufacturers, technology companies
and regulators to continue to work toward ensuring new technology is safe and proper
protections are in place for all road users.”
 
Many of today’s new vehicles have some of the same technology being used in autonomous or
partly autonomous vehicles, such as lane departure warning, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and crash avoidance braking. 63 percent of respondents said they do not use these
technologies, and, of those who do, the majority use primarily adaptive cruise control.
 
In an effort to meet specific local transportation challenges and introduce the public to the
concept of autonomous vehicles, some jurisdictions are planning to operate an autonomous bus or shuttle in narrowly defined areas or to solve specific needs. However, the AAA survey
revealed that a majority of respondents, 79% of Ohioans would choose not to ride in a driverless car, bus, or shuttle if it were available in their location suggesting that broad public awareness and education campaigns will be crucial to the success of any such deployment.
 
There are several initiatives underway throughout Ohio to increase public awareness and
education on autonomous and smart mobility. AAA, in collaboration with the College of
Engineering at the University of Toledo, is currently hosting a free bimonthly speaker series to
educate consumers on the impact of self-driving cars on the world. AAA is also a sponsor for
the second annual Smart Cincy Summit later this month in southwest Ohio, exploring the impact of smart mobility. Finally, Drive Ohio, the new center for smart mobility hosted its first summit in February in Central Ohio to inform government and community stakeholders advanced transportation technologies.
 
One of the biggest questions about the impact of autonomous vehicle is, “How will they change the way people use their vehicles?” The answer to this question will have a significant impact on the way cities and towns plan and pay for their transportation needs in the future.
 
When asked how their vehicle usage habits are likely to change in comparison to their current
habits, the majority of respondents, 62 percent, said that they would likely use a driverless
vehicle less than they use their current vehicle. Another 20 percent said that they would use the driverless vehicle to transport them about the same amount and seven percent said they would use the driverless vehicle to transport them more.
 
In order for autonomous vehicles to operate alongside each other on the highway, they need to
exchange data regularly with other vehicles and roadway infrastructure. A clear majority 83
percent responded that they are very or somewhat concerned about the security of the data
sent to and from autonomous vehicles, while 10 percent are not very concerned and four
percent are not concerned at all.
 
If respondents in the survey are uncertain about the safety of autonomous vehicles, they have a pretty clear sense of who should be responsible if something goes wrong. When asked who
should be responsible for liability while riding in a driverless vehicle, 31 percent believe it is the
responsibility of the technology company, while 29 percent believe the liability should rest with
the car manufacturer and 18 percent believe it should be the car owner. The remaining while
nine percent believe it should be the licensed driver.
 
The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.7%.

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and
more than three million members in Ohio.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its
members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance
service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit
www.AAA.com.