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Most Drivers Say They Wouldn’t Feel Safe in a Self-Driving Car

Gov. Brown Signs Legislation At Google HQ That Allows Testing Of Autonomous VehiclesGov. Brown Signs Legislation At Google HQ That Allows Testing Of Autonomous Vehicles
A Google self-driving car at the company's headquarters.Photograph by Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Though companies continue to invest millions in self-driving cars, most drivers are saying they wouldn’t feel comfortable in one. At least, according to one study.

In a survey of 1,800 drivers conducted by AAA found, 75% said they wouldn’t feel safe in an autonomous vehicle. However, in the same survey, 60% said they want their next car to have some kind of autonomous feature, such as self-parking or automatic brakes.

AAA managing director of automotive engineering and repair John Nielsen tells CNN that he thinks many drivers feel that way because they’re unfamiliar with the technology. Most people don’t currently have autonomous features in their cars. As they become more prevalent, it’s possible that people will end up being more open to the idea of totally autonomous vehicles. “People who have these [autonomous] features tend to like and trust them,” Nielsen told CNN. “That will go a long way for them to start accepting the self-driving technology.”

General Motors just created a self-driving car engineering team; Ford recently enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program along with Nissan and Volkswagen; Kia was approved to test its autonomous cars on public roads in Nevada; and Google is expanding its self-driving program to four new cities. Tesla, meanwhile, released a hands-free feature in October, and recently introduced self-parking.

Other companies are investing big in autonomous vehicle technology and, whether or not drivers are ready for it, it’s coming sooner than you might think.