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Do People Trust Autonomous Vehicles?

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Do People Trust Autonomous Vehicles?

Do we trust autonomous vehicles? This article looks at recent research that suggests users hesitation over using autonomous vehicles in an everyday setting.

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Recently, I’ve written a number of times about how people behave when traveling in a driverless car. These studies have primarily examined things in terms of the alertness we must retain in order to regain control of the vehicle if required, and the subsequent impact this has on our fatigue and stress levels.

While the context of these studies was the immediate requirement for passengers to be ready and able to regain control if necessary, if people don’t trust their vehicle to behave safely, then this issue may become quite widespread.

A recent study from researchers at Flinders University explored the levels of trust in autonomous vehicles among the public today. The short answer is yes, but only in certain situations.

Trusting Our Driver

The researchers conducted a survey at a business park in Australia that was about to undertake a trial of a driverless shuttle bus to transport people around the campus, and to/from the nearby bus and train stations. The survey was designed to understand how people felt about the vehicles and their level of trust in them.

The largest concern was about the reliability of the vehicle and the ability of it to meet the performance expectations of the passenger. This was especially so when the car encountered unexpected situations. People also expressed concern about the security of the vehicle, especially in terms of preventing hacking or other unauthorized remote control.

People seemed more willing to trust autonomous vehicles in closed environments, such as holiday parks or university campuses since the routes are pre-specified. There was also a higher willingness to trust a driverless vehicle in certain circumstances, such as in low traffic areas or when finding a parking spot.

There was little willingness to sit in a vehicle with no driver controls. However, traveling in high pedestrian areas also made respondents nervous.

Now, it should be said that the survey was only conducted on around 100 people, so the sample size was very small. So, there must be the usual caveats around how representative the study is of wider public feeling.

The researchers do believe, however, that their work provides an insight into some of the concerns people have with the technology. Perhaps, this information can even provide insight into the environments that it can be first deployed to help develop the kind of trust it so badly needs in order to gain a more widespread audience.

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iot ,autonomous cars ,driverless cars ,vehicles ,pre-specified

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