Connecting state and local government leaders

Survey: Consumers Value Real-World AV Testing. Just Not Where They Live

A Waymo vehicle being testing in Mountain View, California

A Waymo vehicle being testing in Mountain View, California Shutterstock

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Connecting state and local government leaders

Recent high-profile crashes have “cast a shadow” on driverless vehicles.

A survey of 1,250 consumers released Thursday by Atlanta-based Cox Automotive takes the current temperature of the public’s attitudes when it comes to autonomous vehicles.

There are a handful findings worth highlighting, including how high-profile crashes involving AVs have “cast a shadow on driverless appeal and software” and the “number of respondents that believe roadways would be safer if all vehicles were fully autonomous versus operated by people has decreased 18 percentage points in just two years.”

But there’s something else that state and local officials shouldn’t overlook.

According to Thursday’s news announcement:

Three-fourths of consumers say fully autonomous vehicles need real world testing to be perfected, but 54 percent prefer this testing take place in a different town or city from where they live.

If the public’s enthusiasm for an autonomous future continues to cool, state and local officials may end up finding more entrenched opposition to testing of self-driving vehicles in communities that view autonomous technology with suspicious or unease. There’s a lot of public education about the technology that’s needed, too.

"There is a major opportunity, and a real need, for automakers and mobility providers to help educate consumers and further guide autonomous vehicles in their development," Joe George, Cox Automotive Mobility Solutions Group president, said in the announcement.

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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