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Consumer Knowledge and Acceptance of Driving Automation: Changes Over Time and Across Age Groups
DescriptionIncreasing availability of and extensive investments toward automation in consumer vehicles call for a better understanding of public perceptions and acceptance. This study presents a five-year series of large-scale surveys (N=17,548, average 3,510 participants/year) on consumer knowledge and acceptance of vehicle automation in the United States. Results suggest a continued hesitance toward use of self-driving vehicles, with willingness to use increasing sharply under hypothetical conditions around inability to drive and added safety assurance. While drivers of all ages were most comfortable with driver assist level automation, acceptance of automation overall decreased with age. Findings also indicate that the public may have incorrect beliefs regarding the availability of self-driving vehicles. In conclusion, drivers’ acceptance of vehicle automation changes over time, is tied to factors beyond the current state of development and deployment, and may depend on a relative assessment of benefits and reliability in comparison to their own driving capabilities.