Research shows negative attitudes toward automated vehicles based in misconceptions

A Mountain-Plains Consortium (MPC) publication reported on a study titled Cognitive Underpinnings of Beliefs and Confidence in Beliefs about Fully Automated Vehicles which investigated the cognitive underpinnings of consumers’ beliefs and confidence in their beliefs about fully automated vehicles. Following previous research, opinions about self-driving cars tended to be mixed. The most negative views were held by consumers who had the least knowledge of self-driving cars. Low trust in technology was also associated with more negative views. Although consumers were generally confident in their views of self-driving cars, many were uninformed about them. Consumers’ confidence in their beliefs about self-driving cars was more strongly correlated with perceived knowledge and general confidence than real expertise. Thus, consumers’ confidence in their opinions about fully automated vehicles appears to be driven by largely superfluous cognition. A mediation analysis suggests that general self-confidence influences judgmental confidence by affecting perceived judgment relevant knowledge. Participants’ confidence in negative beliefs about fully automated vehicles suggests their opinions will not be easily influenced via persuasion. Direct experience with fully automated vehicles, rather than communication, may be necessary to convince skeptical consumers of merits of the technology. Read the research brief  or view the full report at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute website.

–Ernie Perry, PhD: “This study provides insight to public concern and perception of new technologies and operations. On a broader level the same perceptions and issues will affect adoption of AV, CAV and platooning for freight vehicles, and may be more inflated with the public’s awareness and concern of large and heavier vehicles.”