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Study: Autonomous Vehicle Awareness Rising, Acceptance Declining

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August 16, 2018—According to findings from the 2018 Cox Automotive Evolution of Mobility Study: Autonomous Vehicles, consumer awareness of driverless vehicles has skyrocketed and the desire for autonomous features is high.

The study finds 84 percent want to have the option to drive themselves even in a self-driving vehicle, compared to 16 percent who would feel comfortable letting an autonomous vehicle drive them without the option of being able to take control. 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.

Self-driving vehicles are seen as less safe by consumers compared to two years ago, with most notably, the vehicle autonomy preference shifting from Level 4 to Level 2—the level currently available in most new vehicles.

The Society of Automotive Engineers currently recognizes five levels of vehicle autonomy, ranging from Level 0 (human-only control) to Level 5 (no human control). In a similar 2016 study from Kelley Blue Book, when survey respondents were asked to make a choice between the different levels, Level 4 autonomy hit the "sweet spot" by providing all the benefits of full vehicle autonomy without stripping away the option of driver control.

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