Drivers are showing an increased trust in self-driving cars

More from this show

AAA started surveying people in 2016 to track the public’s level of trust in self-driving cars, and acceptance of the technology has been on the rise.

“20 million more Americans would trust a fully self-driving car to take them on a ride this year compared to last year,” Michelle Donati-Grayman from AAA Arizona says.

Three separate studies have examined public opinion of the technology. Arizona is an experimental state for the cars, and drivers have been slow to accept them, but studies suggest this is beginning to change. Millennials and men seem to be the most trusting of the technology. Baby boomers are still wary of the cars, but there has been a significant improvement compared to last year, Donati-Grayman says.

Governor Doug Ducey welcomed the testing of the technology here, and that has gotten more people on board as well. Donati-Grayman says education exposure has positive results in helping people be more comfortable in regards to the car. When it comes to technology, seeing is believing, she says. She gives the example of a self-driving shuttle in Las Vegas that has been a success.

The study showed that 73 percent of people believe they are above average drivers, which is another reason they would be less willing to let a machine do the work for them. However, more accidents are caused by human error than anything else.

While the cars continue to be tested in Arizona, Donati-Grayman says AAA is helping develop some safety criteria surrounding the technology. The car may do it all, but that shouldn’t stop the passenger from being aware of their surroundings, so safety implementations are being discussed.


TED SIMONS: A NEW SURVEY BY TRIPLE-A SHOWS THAT FEARS OF SELF-DRIVING CARS ARE STARTING TO SUBSIDE, WITH CLEAR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GENDER AND CERTAIN AGE DEMOGRAPHICS. WE RECENTLY SPOKE WITH TRIPLE-A'S MICHELLE DONATI-GRAYMAN ABOUT THE SURVEY.

TED SIMONS: WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: A SURVEY REGARDING SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: SO TRIPLE-A STARTED SURVEYING DRIVERS ABOUT SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES IN 2016 AND WE REALLY WANT TO GAUGE AND TRACK THE TRUST THAT DRIVERS HAVE WHEN IT COMES TO THIS TECHNOLOGY. OVER THE COURSE OF TWO YEARS, WE HAVE CONDUCTED THREE STUDIES WITH THE MOST RECENT ONE SHOWING THAT THERE APPEARS TO BE AN EMERGING ACCEPTANCE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY WHEN IT COMES TO DRIVERS.

TED SIMONS: EMERGING, I NOTICED 63% THOUGH STILL FEEL AFRAID TO DRIVE ANY FULLY SELF-DRIVING CAR.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: ANY FULLY-SELF FDRIVING CAR, HOWEVER TWENTY -MILLION MORE AMERICANS WOULD TRUST A FULLY SELF-DRIVING CAR TO TAKE THEM FOR A RIDE THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR.

TED SIMONS: WHY DO YOU THINK THE DROP?

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: WELL I THINK THERE’S A COUPLE OF THINGS, IT’S HARD TO SAY THERE IS ONE THING BUT EDUCATION AND EXPOSURE, ESPECIALLY IN A STATE LIKE ARIZONA. GOVERNOR DUCEY HAS WELCOMED THE TESTING OF THIS TECHNOLOGY HERE. ALSO WHEN IT COMES TO TECHNOLOGY, SEEING IS BELIEVING. CASE IN POINT IS WE LAUNCHED A FREE TRIPLE A SELF-DRIVING SHUTTLE IN DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS LATE LAST YEAR IN OCTOBER LAST YEAR. SO TO DATE WE HAVE HAD ABOUT 12,000 RIDERS ON THIS SHUTTLE AND AFTER EXPERIENCING THE SHUTTLE, ALMOST ALL OF THEM ARE COMFORTABLE ARE MORE COMFERTABLE WITH THE TECHNOLOGY. 98% SAY THEY WOULD RECOMMEND THE EXPERIENCE TO A FRIEND.

TED SIMONS: THE SHUTTLE, THERE WAS NO DRIVER AT ALL? OR JUST SOMEONE SITTING BEHIND THE WHEEL NOT TOUCHING IT?

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: SO THERE’S NO WHEEL AT ALL IN THE DRIVER. THERE’S A SHUTTLE OPERATOR BUT THEY AREN’T NECESSAIRLY DOING ANYTHING. THEY’RE THERE TO EXPLAIN HOW THE TECHNOLOGY WORKS INSIDE. AND SO A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE LEARY TALKING ABOUT VARIOUS DEMOGRAPHICS. ONCE THEY EXPERIENCE IT FOR THEMSELVES, THEY REALIZE IT MIGHT NOT BE SCARY AS THEY PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT THOSE DEMOGRAPHICS, MILLENNIALS AND MALES MOST TRUSTING.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: MILLENIALS AND MAILES MOST TRUSTING ESPECIALLY COMPARED TO FEMALES AND OTHER DEMOGRAPHICS SO YOU HAVE GENX. THEY ARE MORE TRUSTING THAN BABY BOOMERS BUT LESS THAN MILLENNIALS. BABY BOOMERS ARE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING DEMOGRAPHICS TO TALK ABOUT WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE THE MAJORITY ARE LEARY OF IT, BUT WE NOTICE A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT ABOUT THE WAY THEY FEEL ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY COMPARED TO LAST YEAR.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK THAT’S EBCAUSE WE’VE ALL SEEN ENOUGH OF THESE THINGS ON THE STREET. THEY’RE ALL OVER THE PLACE YOU CAN’T HELP GET BEHIND ONE IT SEEMS LIKE. BUT I MEAN IT’S BECOMING MORE.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: IT IS AND WE’RE HEARING MORE OF THE COMPANIES RELEASE THEIR TESTING AND THE MILES DRIVEN. YOU KNOW THEY’RE ABLE TO GO FURTHER DISTANCE WITHOUT HAVING THE DRIVER ENGAGE AND SO IT’S THAT EDUCATION AND THAT EXPOSURE TO IT AGAIN ESPECIALLY IN TESTING STATES LIKE ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: NOT TOO FAR OFF TOPIC HERE BUT I HAVE HEARD THAT SOME OF THESE PEOPLE OUT THERE TESTING THESE THINGS. THEY’VE ACTUALLY FALLEN ASLEEP. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MAINTAINING, BUT THEY ARE NODDING OFF.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: THERE IS STILL A LOT OF TESTING THAT HAS TO BE DONE. ONE OF THE OTHER COMPANIES THAT 3A IS ENGAGED IN AS OF LATE IS WITH A COMPANY CALLED TORQUE ROBOTICS. ONE OF THE THINGS WE ARE WORKING WITH THIS COMPANY TO DO IS TO START TO DEVELOP SAFETY CRITERIA AROUND THE TECHNOLOGY. WE KNOW THAT THE BIG PLAN IS FOR THIS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE MASSES AND AS A SAFETY ADVOCATE WE WANNA MAKE SURE THAT IT’S IMPLEMENTED SAFELY. WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE SOME PRETTY TREMENDOUS BENEFITS TO THIS ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU START THINKING ABOUT TRAFFIC SAFETY STATISTICS AND DATA. BUT DEVELOPING THIS SAFETY CRITERIA THIS IS ONE WAY IN WHICH 3A IS CONTRIBUTING TO MAKING SURE THAT THIS TECHNOLOGY IS IMPLIMENTED SAFELY.

TED SIMONS: MAYBE GET SOME SORT OF ELECTRIC JOLT. TO SEE EVERY ONCE AND A WHILE AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE AWAKE WHEN YOU SHOULD BE. ANOTHER ASPECT THAT'S SORT OF INTERESTING, 73% OF US CONSIDER OURSELVES AN ABOVE AVERAGE DRIVER. AND THAT PLAYS A FACTOR BECAUSE IF YOU THINK YOU’RE AN ABOVE AVERAGE DRIVER YOU DON’T WAN’T A MACHINE DOING YOUR DRIVING FOR YOU.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: YOU WANT TO GIVE UP CONTROL. THAT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST BARRIERS TO U.S. DRIVERS FULLY ACCEPTING THIS TECHNOLOGY. THEY ARE RELUCTANT TO GIVE UP CONTROL BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY ARE BETTER DRIVERS THAN EVERYONE ELSE ON THE ROAD DESPITE THE FACT THAT 90% OF CRASHES ARE CAUSED BY HUMAN ERROR. WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE STATISTICS, 35,000 PEOPLE DIE ON OUR ROADWAYS EVERY YEAR AND THE MAJORITY OF DEATHS ARE PREVENTABLE, WHEN YOU TKE THIS TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN POTENTIOALLY REDUCE THIS NUMBER BY A VERY LARGE AMOUNT. I MEAN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY IT HAS POTENTIAL TO REVOLUTIONIZE TRAFFIC SAFETY, CONVENIENCE AND MOBILITY WITH ALL ROAD USERS. WE HAVE THE SAFETY FOR ALL USERS.

TED SIMONS: WITH THAT IN MIND, DOES AAA HAVE AN OFFICIAL POSITION ON THESE SELF-DRIVNG VEHICLES?

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: YOU KNOW WE’VE BEEN MONITORING THE TESTING VERY CLOSELY. WE ARE A PART OF THE TESTING PARTNERSHIP THROUGH TORQUE ROBOTICS. WE’RE DOING OUR OWN TESTING WITH THE SELF-DRIIVNG SHUTTLE IN LAS VEGAS AND SO WE ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE WE REALIZE THERE COULD BE SOME TREMENDOUS SAFETY AND MOBILITY BENEFITS FOR ALL ROAD USERS. OUR BIGGEST CONCERN IS COMING AT THIS FROM A SAFETY PERSPECTIVE WHICH IS WHY WE’RE INVOLVED IN TERMS OF DEVELOPING THAT SAFETY CRITERIA. BUT LOOKING AT THE BENEFITS WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY WE REALLY THINK THAT WE CAN WHY WE ARE CONCERNED FROM THE CRITERIA. IN BENEFIT, WE THINK IT CAN CHANGE THE WAY EVERYONE USES THE ROADS OUT THERE.

TED SIMONS: AND IT’S REALLY NOT A QUESTION OF IF ANYMORE, IT'S WHEN, CORRECT? AND WHEN DO YOU THINK THAT WILL BE?

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: CLOSER THAN WE THINK. WE THINK WE CAN SEE SOME VEHICLES WITH VERY HIGH LEVELS OF AUTIMATION HERE IN A FEW YEARS BECAUSE ARIZONA HAS REALLY BEEN LEADING THE WAY IN THIS TECHNOLOGY. WE COULD BE SEEING THIS TECHNOLOGY HERE IN ARIZONA FIRST.

TED SIMONS: ALRIGHT, SO WE CAN SEE A BUNCH OF FOLKS JUST NODING OFF AS THEY’RE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD OR HOPEFEULLY NOT GETTING CAR SICK. PEOPLE DON’T GET CAR SICK IN THESE THINGS, IS THAT TRUE?

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: I HAVEN’T HEARD THAT BUT THERE IS STILL THE AWARENESS THAT WE WANT DRIVERS TO HAVE OUT THERE AND A LOT OF VEHICLES OUT THERE ALREADY HAVE THAT SEMI-AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY. SO DEPARTURE, EMERGENCY BREAKING, BUT YOU KNOW THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THAT ENGAGED DRIVER. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE LOWER LEVELS OF AUTOMATION. THAT'S SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND. YOU HEAR WILD STORIES HERE AND THERE. BUT RIGHT NOW WE ARE STILL WORKING WITH VEHICLES THAT HAVE FEATURES THAT ARE SEMI AUTONOMOUS OR VERY LOW LEVELS OF AUTOMATION. WE STILL NEED DRIVERS TO BE ENGAGED IN THOSE THINGS. AND AS AUTOMATION ADVANCES THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO CHANGE BUT RIGHT NOW WE WANT ALL DRIVERS TO BE ENGAGED WHEN THEIR INSIDE THE WHEEL.


TED SIMONS: ALRIGHT WELL GOOD TO KNOW AAA ARIZONA IS ON THE CASE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: THE ISSUE OF FREE SPEECH ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES CONTINUES TO IGNITE STRONG FEELINGS AS COMMUNITIES, SCHOOLS AND STUDENTS TRY TO MAKE SENSE OF JUST WHAT CAN BE ADDRESSED AND WHO SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ADDRESS IT. ASU IS HOLDING A LECTURE SERIES ON ALL THIS, THE SERIES IS TITLED, "FREE SPEECH AND INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND AMERICAN SOCIETY," AND IT FEATURES GUEST SPEAKERS SUCH AS FORMER HARVARD PROFESSOR CORNEL WEST. HERE WITH MORE IS PAUL CARRESE OF ASU'S SCHOOL OF CIVIC AND ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND LEADERSHIP. WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON."

MICHELLE DONATI- GRAYMAN: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Michelle Donati-Grayman: AAA Arizona

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
airs Feb. 23

The Highwaymen: Live at Nassau Coliseum

A cute little duckling with text reading: Arizona PBS Ducks in a Row Event
March 6

Getting Your Ducks in a Row to Avoid Conflict When You Are Gone

gospel-live-presented-by-henry-louis-gates-jr.
aired Feb. 9

Gospel Live! Presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

A photo of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and photos of his books

Join the all new PBS Books Readers Club!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: