Iowans "Warming" To Self-Driving Cars


DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Would you travel in a self-driving car?

A recent AAA study shows more Americans are starting to come around to the idea.

Last year, 78 percent of drivers said they would be terrified to ride in a vehicle that drives itself. Fast forward to today, and that number has shrunk to 63 percent.

AAA says some of that may have to do with the technology inside these vehicles.

One half of drivers say they want their next car to have features like being able to stop itself or keep your car in your lane on the highway.

Those in the businesses of selling cars have noticed a lot of car buyers do their homework on these features. And as the technology provides the proof, Rick Petitgout, a Sales Consultant at Bird Chevrolet in Dubuque says we may be inching closer to self-driving vehicles.

"Technology's really enhanced, the training, the education, the possibilities are always there," Petitgout said. "And I think it's probably a little closer than we expected now than 20 years ago."

Petitgout said at this point, we may be seeing fully self-driving cars in the next 15 or 20 years because the demand he is seeing in these safety features and additions seems to increase.

The study shows about six in ten U.S. drivers say they would feel unsafe riding in a self-driving vehicle today. But the difference between age groups is pretty significant.

68 percent of drivers from the "Baby Boomer" era say they would be a concerned riding in a self-driving car.

Those surveyed from "Generation X" showed 70 percent said they would be hesitant, too.

But the millennials seem to trust the technology more, as less than half were concerned.

And to those people who are selling cars with advanced technology, that is a trend they expect, because they say drivers are warming up to the concept of a self-driving vehicle.

"One is they can still be using their technology and their cell phones and stuff like that," Petitgout said. "So they're going to want to not be paying attention to the road. We also have parallel parking vehicles that parallel park themselves. So I think, yeah, I think people are starting to get a [bigger] grip on it."

The survey from AAA suggests the trend of Americans being less afraid compared to in the past might relate to their better understanding of how these technologies work.

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