Will consumers ever embrace autonomous vehicles?


Autonomous vehicles have been touted as the way to eliminate motor vehicle accidents, yet consumers appear to be far from ready to trust these autos.

Residents in Texas have every right to want to feel safe on the road. Unfortunately, negligent drivers abound, putting innocent people at risk every day. Selfish choices like drinking or using drugs before driving, texting while behind the wheel or speeding and weaving in and out of traffic contribute to too many serious injuries and even fatalities every year.

It makes sense that many have looked to autonomous vehicles as a way to reduce or even eliminate motor vehicle accidents. There would be no human to make these bad decisions so theoretically people are safer. For a while, it seemed that consumers were starting to agree with this and develop a level of trust in self-driving cars. Recently, however, that has changed.

Drop in consumer trust

Fortune magazine reported that from the beginning to the end of 2017, consumer trust in autonomous vehicles actually increased. By December, 63 percent of people said they were too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving car, down from 78 percent earlier in the year. Just a few months later in May 2018, it was a different story with 73 percent of people reporting they were too fearful to ride in these vehicles.

While most people consider millennials the most technology-savvy generation with the highest likelihood of adopting new tech-based solutions, the latest study from AAA shows that the biggest drop in consumer trust of autonomous cars was actually among millennials. According to The Verge, 64 percent of people in this age group said they were too afraid to ride in an autonomous car in May 2018. Five months earlier, only 49 percent of millennials said this.

The psychology of risk aversion and control

Car and Driver magazine explained that humans have an increased sense of safety when they are in control and an increased sense of vulnerability when not. Applied to vehicles, this means that when in the driver’s seat, people feel safer than when in the passenger seat.

The technology-legal gap

Bloomberg points out that there are currently no federal standards for autonomous vehicles, leaving states to figure things out for themselves. This may expose consumers to risk if they are involved in an accident with these vehicles as it could be difficult to identify whether or not a vehicle was properly developed or manufactured.

Consumers in Texas who are involved in an accident regardless of the other type of vehicles involved should always contact a lawyer for assistance. This is the best way to get insight into the latest laws and options for compensation.

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