AAA study: People slowly warming up to self-driving cars

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 06:54:30-05

CINCINNATI -- Self-driving vehicles are expected to be the next big thing, and new research shows that many people are warming up to the idea. 

According to a study out Wednesday from AAA, 63 percent of people are afraid to ride in a self-driving car. That's down from 78 percent last year.

"As more Americans get information and education about autonomous, self-driving cars, they're getting more comfortable with it," AAA spokesperson Jenifer Moore said. 

AAA has a driverless shuttle operating in Las Vegas to further examine attitudes. 

Women are more likely than men to be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, with 73 percent and 52 percent, respectively, according to AAA. Women were also more likely to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car, with 55 percent versus 36 percent. 

Millennials are more trusting of self-driving vehicles. Only 49 percent said they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car, down from 73 percent. Sixty-eight percent of baby boomers said they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car. 

Several locations are testing sites for self-driving vehicles, though Cincinnati isn't one of them so far. Smart Cincy is hoping to get the green light to start some testing of autonomous vehicles in the area. 

"We need to start deploying pilot projects," said Smart Cincy founder Zack Huhn. "We need to start understanding how these are going to interact with passenger vehicles."

There are already some projects coming out of the University of Cincinnati. UC transportation design students came up with futuristic tires for autonomous vehicles, a sign of what could be. 

Also, there are plans to test an autonomous shuttle either around UC or CVG, and eventually further. And last week, Gov. John Kasich set up DriveOhio as a collaborative effort for researchers, developers and makers of autonomous cars. 

"I like to think that, last century we automated communication. This century we'll automate transportation and that will be our paradigm shift," Huhn said.