People are not yet comfortable with the idea of the self-driving, or autonomous, vehicle, according to results of a new AAA survey.
The AAA found that only 20 percent of those surveyed said that they trust a vehicle to drive itself. That’s the most dramatic result. The survey also asked the opinion of people who own vehicles with some autonomous features. This group is 75 percent more likely to trust such functionality than those without experience, according to The Detroit News.
In general, the survey showed that people want safety features such as assistance with parking and staying within a designated lane. The reasons are safety, convenience and stress reduction. Among those who don’t, the reasons are that the respondent trusts his or her own driving more, that the technology is unproven, and resistance to the added expense.
In other autonomous vehicle news, one of Google’s self-driving cars had an accident on February 14 on El Camino Real in Mountain View, California, which Computerworld says is a busy thoroughfare often used by Google to do autonomous vehicle research. The minor accident involved the autonomously driven Lexus SUV and a municipal bus.
This, apparently, wasn’t the first mishap that Google’s autonomous vehicles have had, but it’s the first in which the company acknowledged that its technology was at fault. Google is trying to figure out what went wrong so that it is not repeated:
Google said it has reviewed this incident, as well as thousands of variations on it, in a driving simulator and made refinements to its AV software.
We should all note that it seems that there is no clear line between autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles. The Motley Fool’s Daniel Sparks took a test drive of a Tesla Model S after downloaded function upgrades added autopilot features to the original autonomous features. The new capabilities included automated steering and lane changes.
Sparks’ goal was to travel from Monument to Colorado City, Colorado, without grabbing control of the vehicle. The results were good:
In a 61-mile drive, which passed through several cities, including the 27-mile-long stretch of Colorado Springs, I didn’t have to steer or use the pedals a single time. I even changed lanes when I normally would have — though by a tap of the blinker each time instead of by turning the wheel.
Autonomous driving is coming. Indeed, it is largely here. And, despite a minor accident in Mountain View, it sounds like a pretty good thing.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.