In recent months and perhaps the last few years, automakers and tech companies as well as research institutions have been working to bring self-driving vehicles to our roads. It was in fact, just last summer that we saw the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute attempt to work out exactly how one should design automated cars. Strangely enough as it sounds, instead of actually using a prototype driverless vehicle they instead drove through suburban Washington D.C. in a gray van with the driver all dressed up in a car-seat costume. So from the outside, it only looks like the car is driverless when really, it isn’t. Why did they do this experiment? Let’s find out
Why Drivers are Uncomfortable with Self-Driving Cars- Fake Driver-less Cars
If that sounds like a strange experiment that is bound to scare people: you’re right. One of the major goals for the study was specifically to make locals *maybe* feel uncomfortable. And guess what? They were successful. Based on reports for local news sources, many residents ended up reporting the silver van used in the experiment. Most of them simply wanted to know what in the world was going on. Even less surprising was the follow up research.
After that institution’s research, AAA did one of their own. In their case, they took a poll which ended up showing that about 78 percent of Americans were downright afraid of self-driving vehicles.
It does seem like a pretty high number and rightly so as it seems that those numbers are actually going down. In January of 2018, the number of people who were polled and admitted to being afraid of self-driving cars had dropped 15 points to down to 63 percent. It seems that Americans are slowly beginning to warm up to the concept of self-driving cars. This is the first year AAA polled the U.S. population on the subject of autonomous cars that shows a significant decrease in levels of discomfort.
Self-Driving Cars Are Here to Stay
There was another report, this time put together by CNN. In this, they worked with AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, Greg Brannon. According to him, things are looking up for the mainstream reception of driver-less cars. Fears are steadily being relieved if not altogether erases. According to Brannon the key is to be able to steadily assure that consumers have nothing to be afraid of. The technology must show that it reduces risk on the road and can save lives. Right now we’re only seeing preliminary research that will show how the tech can save lives. We’ve seen studies put together by the RAND Corporation, The Atlantic, and Science Man/Astrology Rock Star, Neil deGrasse Tyson and more experts in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics).
The Future is Here
Today, companies like Waymo, the sister company in charge of Google’s autonomous vehicle fleet are also working to improve mainstream acceptance of driver-less vehicles. Waymo is launching a new campaign they “Let’s Talk Self-Driving.” This is meant to help the general public learn more about the vehicles. If you ask us at endurance, it kind of feels like when the teachers at school would sit in a backwards chair to try to appeal to us. However, education is only ever a good thing and when it comes to changing the way people get around, the more we know the better.