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Study finds more Americans comfortable with self-driving cars, but still a minority

Study finds more Americans comfortable with self-driving cars, but still a minority. (ABC7)

AAA released survey results on Wednesday that indicate that more people are willing to ride in a self-driving vehicle. The study shows 63 percent of U.S. drivers feel afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle. That number is down from 78 percent the year prior.

“What if the car catches a virus? What if it malfunctions? Like, for no reason, it just swerves?” said Scott Williams, a DC resident who says he’s uncomfortable with the idea of self-driving cars.

“From a technological standpoint, I think it’s cool to have a self-driving car,” said Lenon Adam, also a resident of DC.

Dan Work is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University. He’s working on a research project with the National Science Foundation focusing on self-driving vehicles.

“In particular, we want to understand, can they actually make the traffic conditions better, even though not every car is automated? And the answer is surprising, that, yes, one car in 20, if they are automated, can actually improve the commute for everybody,” Work said.

He demonstrated an automation set up at the Washington Auto Show. He says the automation shows that the self-driving cars would help to cut out stop and go traffic.

“It’s going to start to open up some space so it can eliminate the traffic jam,” he said, pointing to the screen.

He calls the idea of self-driving vehicles at the Washington Auto Show, which opens to the public on Friday, a “hot topic.”

“There’s two reason that people are getting more comfortable with it. One is that the technology is constantly getting better day by day. And the other is that as you get to experience these cars, you see them on the roadway or you get to see more of the demos that the car companies are putting out, you actually see that they provide really remarkable services, and that if it doesn’t happen tomorrow, it will be here soon,” Work said.

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