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Can you really trust an autonomous vehicle to be safe?

On behalf of Harry Dorian

While autonomous vehicle technology continues to advance, consumer support for these vehicles does not.

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that every year, more than 30,000 lives are lost in vehicular crashes across the United States alone. To make matters worse, human error is identified as a factor in the vast majority of these fatal collisions-a total of 94 percent of them, in fact. It is no wonder that Pennsylvania residents are concerned about safety on the roads.

Eliminating the human error factor

Human error can include bad decisions made even before getting into a car like consuming alcohol or drugs before driving. It can also include actions made during driving like speeding or not adequately measuring the distance required to safely pass another vehicle.

The role of human error in accidents may well be one reason that many companies are looking to autonomous vehicles as a route to improved safety. Yet, can these vehicles really solve the problems people face today? Are consumers really ready to trust them to do so?

Drivers may not be ready to give up control

Even with interest in reducing accidents, many drivers appear not fully trustworthy of autonomous vehicles. According to the J.D. Power U.S. Tech Choice Study conducted earlier this year, in fact, the percentage of people who trust this technology has actually dropped compared to where it was in the previous year. Of particular note is that this reduction in trust is noted among drivers in almost every age group spanning young and old.

A Gartner poll conducted in not just America but also in Germany found similar results. More than 50 percent of the respondents indicated a lack of willingness to be a passenger in a vehicle controlled completely by computers. While roughly 70 percent of people indicated they would consider being an autonomous vehicle passenger, they were not willing to commit to this.

In the J.D. Power study, people who were not open to fully embracing a completely self-driving car did show an openness to safety-centric autonomous features. For example, drivers were interested in having automatically adjusting lights or cameras in mirrors and they said they would even pay higher prices for their vehicles to have these features included.

Consumers want and need to feel safe

These studies confirm that drivers do want to find ways to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the road and ideally reduce the number of accidents that happen. However, they need to be shown that they can trust technology more than they currently feel they can if companies want them to accept self-driving cars.

Regardless of what type of vehicle is involved, if a crash happens, people deserve help. Pennsylvania residents should always be ready and willing to talk to an attorney for assistance after any collision.