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Most Americans still fear self-driving cars

As more automakers develop autonomous vehicles, are consumers on board with the technology? The latest survey data suggests not.

According to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA), a little over seven out of 10 Americans surveyed remain skeptical about self-driving cars. This statistic is virtually unchanged from the previous year when 73 percent of Americans feared autonomous vehicles.

The 2019 data is eight percentage points higher than the AAA's survey in 2017. The 2018 data was released nine weeks after a test vehicle by Uber skilled a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz. The survey also indicated only 19 percent of respondents would put kids in a self-driving car.

Will the market's attitudes change?

Still, automotive companies continue spending billions on driverless technology and engaging more directly with consumers. Waymo began offering a robo-taxi service in the Phoenix area a few months ago and GM has plans to launch a similar service in a to-be-determined city later this year.

As it stands, those companies may be competing for a niche market of non-skeptics. However, more familiarity with how these cars operate could work in manufacturers' favor.

The survey indicates that as drivers become more aware of how certain self-driving features work, the more comfortable with the technology they become. Using the driver-assist technology increased a driver's trust by 68 percent.

Additionally, most consumers - 55 percent - believe most new cars will have self-driving capabilities within the next decade. If they see it as an inevitability, they may be more likely to test it themselves.

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