Study: Public’s trust in self-driving cars on the decline

Consumer confidence in autonomous vehicles scored 37 points, 2 points lower than in 2022.

According to a combined study by MIT & JD Power, there is a growing distrust in self-driving cars among the public. The study mentions that for the second year in a row, the public’s trust in self-driving cars has witnessed a decline. This includes autonomous vehicles used by ride-hailing services, as well as the autonomous driving systems like “Autopilot” offered by car brands such as Tesla.

Reports also point out that, as per the 2023 Mobility Confidence Index Study, consumer confidence in autonomous vehicles scored 37 points (on a 100-point scale). This is a two-point decline compared to 2022 and a five-point decline from 2021, when it scored 39/100 and 42/100, respectively.

The JD Power & MIT conducted study also mentions that while first-time users of robotaxis initially had a positive attitude towards AVs, the negative media coverage of the “endless deployment issues” has counteracted their opinions. Lisa Boor, Senior Manager of Auto Benchmarking & Mobility Deployment, JD Power, stated, “This first-time feedback from robotaxi riders shows a significant growth in consumer comfort levels across any AV application. Industry stakeholders must seize the opportunity to build confidence and promote the technology across all transportation modalities through these first-hand experiences but, for success, it cannot be overshadowed by endless deployment issues.”

However, reports state that “negative news cycle” can’t be directly blamed for the decline in trust, as media coverage – good or bad, comes after the fact that autonomous vehicles are crashing. The frequency of autonomous vehicles crashing have risen alarmingly, necessitating the need for legislators to get involved.

Bryan Reimer, Research Scientist at MIT’s Centre for Transportation & Logistics and a founder of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Consortium, stated, “If we want to fix the trust problem, maybe we want to fix the foundations of why the technology appears in the news all the time.” He added, “I understand why everyone wants to be full speed ahead, but perhaps itโ€™s time to take a pause and reboot, and not keep making the same mistakes.”

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