Many proponents of self-driving vehicles tout improved safety as a benefit compared to vehicles driven by human beings. However, many consumers remain wary and not quite ready to embrace these vehicles or trust in their safety.

An advocacy group polled consumers in February and March of 2020 to better understand how people feel about the emergence of autonomous vehicles on American roads.

Knowledge gap contributes to lack of trust

According to the poll conducted by Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, six out of 10 people indicated a need for a deeper understanding of self-driving vehicles and the technology that powers them before they may trust the vehicles. When asked if these vehicles may be ready for mainstream use, three out of four consumers indicated they did not believe so.

Consumers with limited mobility did appear to be somewhat more informed about autonomous vehicles than their counterparts without mobility issues. As such, this group expressed a greater level of comfort with self-driving vehicles and acknowledged the benefits these vehicles may bring to their lives.

Inconsistent data and regulations an issue

A report by The Verge explains that currently no consistent federal regulations or data requirements exist regarding autonomous vehicles despite the call for such oversight. The United States Department of Transportation does allow for test and drive data to be submitted but does not require this. The voluntary nature of the DOT’s program leaves many concerned that the ability to truly monitor and learn about self-driving vehicle operation and safety will remain limited. In the meantime, some states have created regulations or data requirements.