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AAA: More people open to riding in self-driving vehicles

January 25, 2018

More people are warming up to the idea of getting into a car that has no driver, according to a new AAA survey.

The AAA study found 63 percent of U.S. drivers would ride in a self-driving vehicle. That’s a significant decrease compared to 78 percent who said no way to the idea last year.

The decrease shows Americans, in general, are becoming more comfortable with the concept of self-driving cars. Twenty million more drivers now say they’d trust autonomous vehicles on the roads, Lloyd Albert, AAA Northeast Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, said in a release.

Despite the shifting attitude, a majority of drivers are still hesitant to give up their steering wheels to a self-driving vehicle, the study found.

In fact, according to the study, drivers have high confidence in their own driving abilities, even though more than 90 percent of the crashes involve human error.

Three-quarters of drivers consider themselves better-than-average.

And men in particular - eight in 10 - consider their driving abilities better-than-average.

The study also found:

Millennials are the most trusting age group of self-driving vehicles. This year, 49 people are receptive to the vehicle. Last year, 73 percent said they were afraid to ride in a self-driving car.

Gen - Xers (47 percent) and Baby Boomers (54 percent) feel less safe sharing the road with such a vehicle.

Baby Boomers, however, are becoming significantly more comfortable with the idea than they were a year ago, (68 vs. 85 percent).

Women are more likely than men to say they’re afraid to ride in such a car. (73 vs.52 percent). They’re also more likely to feel less safe than men to share the road with a self-driving car. (55 vs. 35 percent)

Closer to home, Connecticut is considering pilot testing autonomous vehicles on its roadways in up to two municipalities, possibily in Stamford and Hartford.

Last year, the state Legislature passed a bill last year to create a task force to study AV issues and develop a pilot program for self-driving cars.

“This legislation will help put Connecticut at the forefront of this innovative, burgeoning industry,” Malloy after the bill was approved.

“Autonomous vehicles are already being tested in several states throughout the country, and we cannot allow our state to be outpaced as this technology grows.”