75% of Americans Are Scared of Self-Driving Cars

New AAA survey breaks down the autonophobic demographics.

byWill Sabel Courtney| PUBLISHED Mar 3, 2016 5:20 PM
75% of Americans Are Scared of Self-Driving Cars

PoliticiansanalystsSilicon Valley, and automotive industry bigwigs have spent the last few years preparing us for the age of the self-driving car. But, as it turns out, the average American driver isn't quite ready to turn their keys over to a well-mannered Terminator. According to a new AAA survey, three of four American drivers say they’re afraid to ride in a self-driving car.

Opinions skewed along age and gender lines: Women were more likely than men to be hesitant about an autonomous car, while baby boomers were more afraid than younger generations. But a definitive majority of every group polled said they weren’t okay with the idea of being shuttled around by a driver-less car. That's 81 percent of women and 67 percent of men, 82 percent of Boomers and 69 percent of younger Americans.

TL;DR: There’s a good chance your mom is scared of the Google Car.

When it comes to having computers help out behind the wheel instead of taking over entirely, American drivers were much more receptive. Of the 1,832 people surveyed, 61 percent said they wanted some sort of semi-autonomous feature on their car. Of the semi-autonomous safety features AAA asked about, American drivers trusted lane departure warning/lane keep assist the most (52 percent), followed by adaptive cruise control (47 percent), then automatic emergency braking (44 percent) and self-parking (36 percent). When asked why they wanted semi-autonomous features on their cars, Baby Boomers were more likely to cite safety, while younger generations said convenience, or just staying up-to-date on the latest technology.

Among the those who didn't didn’t want semi-autonomous tech on their cars, 84 percent claimed they trusted their own driving skills more than technology, 60 percent of them said the technology was too unproven, 57 percent said it cost too much. Half of respondents said they didn’t know enough about it, and 45 percent said they found it annoying. (Can count us in that last group.)

Younger generations were more likely to cite cost as a problem, which makes sense. Why get into an autonomous car when there's a mailbox for your student loan check on every block?