March 7th, 2017 by Jessica Souto
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 7, 2017) – A new report from AAA reveals that the majority of U.S. drivers seek autonomous technologies in their next vehicle, but they continue to fear the fully self-driving car. Despite the prospect that autonomous vehicles will be safer, more efficient and more convenient than their human-driven counterparts, three-quarters of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a self-driving car, and only 10 percent report that they’d actually feel safer sharing the roads with driverless vehicles. As automakers press forward in the development of autonomous vehicles, AAA urges the gradual, safe introduction of these technologies to ensure that American drivers are informed, prepared and comfortable with this shift in mobility.
“A great race towards autonomy is underway and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.”
In 2016, a AAA survey found that three-quarters of Americans reported feeling afraid to ride in a self-driving car. One year later, a new AAA survey found that fear is unchanged. While the majority are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, the latest survey also found that the majority (59%) of Americans are keen to have autonomous features in their next vehicle. This marked contrast suggests that American drivers are ready embrace autonomous technology, but they are not yet ready to give up full control.
“U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver – and they’re correct,” continued Brannon. “While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”
Additional survey findings include:
- Half (54%) of U.S. drivers feel less safe at the prospect of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle, while one-third (34%) feel it wouldn’t make a difference and only 10 percent say they would feel safer.
- Women (58%) are more likely to feel less safe than men (49%).
- Baby Boomers (60%) are more likely to feel less safe than Generation X (56%) or Millennials (41%)
- The majority (59%) of U.S. drivers want autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle, while the remainder do not (25%) or are unsure (16%).
- Millennials (70%) are the most likely to want the technologies, compared to Generation X (54%) and Baby Boomers (51%).
- Three-quarters (78%) of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
- Baby Boomers (85%) are more likely to be afraid than Millennials (73%) and Generation X (75%) drivers.
- Women (85%) are more likely to be afraid than men (69%).
To educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the on-going, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. This variation may be particularly concerning to consumers, with AAA’s survey revealing that 81 percent of Americans feel that automated vehicle systems should all work similarly and consistently across all vehicle manufacturers. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.
“Every year, we lose approximately 35,000 people on America’s roadways, most as a result of human error,” said Jill Ingrassia, AAA’s managing director of Government Relations and Traffic Safety. “Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce this number, and automakers, government agencies and safety organizations like AAA must continue working together to ensure that these new vehicles are safely tested and deployed.”
For additional information about the survey, including a fact sheet and infographics, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
September 22nd, 2015 by AAA
ORLANDO, Fla. (September 22, 2015) – As automakers increasingly integrate self-parking features into new vehicles, Americans say they are not ready to give up control. According to a new survey from AAA, nearly 80 percent of American drivers are confident in their parallel parking abilities and only one-in-four would trust this technology to park their vehicle. Despite this, AAA testing found self-parking technology outperformed unassisted drivers in four key areas.
“Autonomous features, such as active park assist, are rapidly being introduced into new vehicles, yet American drivers are hesitant to let go of the wheel,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “While the vast majority of Americans say they would not trust self-parking technology, AAA found these features performed well in tests and warrants consideration of new car buyers.”
In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested self-parking features on five vehicles: a 2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.
Compared to drivers that manually parallel parked with the aid of a standard back-up camera, AAA found:
- Drivers using self-parking systems experienced 81 percent fewer curb strikes.
- Self-parking systems parallel parked the vehicle using 47 percent fewer maneuvers, with some systems completing the task in as little as one maneuver.
- Self-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10 percent faster.
- Self-parking systems were able to park 37 percent closer to the curb.
“AAA’s testing found that self-parking technology outperformed manual parking in number of curb strikes, number of maneuvers, speed and accuracy,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “While Americans report feeling confident in their parallel parking abilities, this technology proves there is room for improvement.”
While the tested self-parking systems performed well and parked quicker and more accurately than an unassisted driver, the technology is not without flaws. AAA found that some systems parked the vehicles exceedingly close to the curb, leaving wheels and tires vulnerable to scratches and costly repairs.
“AAA recommends that drivers leave six-to-eight inches between the vehicle and the curb when parallel parking,” warned Nielsen. “With some systems leaving as little as a half-inch buffer, AAA urges automakers to increase this distance to prevent vehicle damage.”
To learn more about AAA’s vehicle testing series, designed to educate and inform AAA members, the automotive industry and the general public, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
Self Parking Image Gallery
March 21st, 2014 by AAA
WASHINGTON, D.C, (March 21, 2014) – “AAA believes that the safety of motorists should be a top consideration in the handling of consumer recalls and urges Federal regulators and the automotive industry to review recall procedures and requirements to ensure that they are designed to best protect motorists. Delays in vehicle recalls erode motorists’ confidence in the national recall system and confidence in the cars they drive.”
January 23rd, 2014 by AAA
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 23, 2014) –The “Right to Repair” agreement should help consumers with auto repair, but it does not go far enough in ensuring access to car data as vehicle technology advances.
“AAA has promoted this issue for years because most consumers want the ability to choose their preferred mechanic,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “While this agreement has benefits for consumers, it is not a comprehensive solution. Vehicles are changing rapidly and more must be done to guarantee consumer choice and control of vehicle data in the future.”
AAA believes that automakers must help ensure the consumer rights of transparency, choice and security as cars increasingly transmit data outside the vehicle.
AAA’s Consumer Rights for Car Data
- Transparency – Consumers have a right to clearly understand what information is being collected from their vehicle and how it is being used. Businesses and the government should be transparent about the collection and use of vehicle data.
- Choice – Consumers have a right to decide with whom to share their data and for what purpose. This includes ongoing monitoring of vehicle systems, repair and any data of the vehicle owner’s choice. Customers should not be forced to relinquish control as a condition of purchasing or leasing a vehicle or of receiving a connected-vehicle service.
- Security – Consumers have a right to expect that connected-vehicle manufacturers and service providers will use reasonable measures to protect vehicle data systems and services against unauthorized access and misuse.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
March 1st, 2012 by AAA
New vehicle technologies expand to more affordable makes and models
ORLANDO,Fla., (March 1, 2012) – For 2012, the largest trend in new vehicle technology is the availability of innovative and advanced technologies, once offered exclusively in luxury vehicles, to many more motorists on the road. The list includes a variety of features all intended to improve safety, increase performance and reduce environmental impact.
“Technologies like anti-lock braking and stability control were once seen as pioneering innovations and are now required or standard features,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Looking to the future, we hope the cost for these technologies continues to come down, allowing more drivers to enjoy the safety, economy and performance they provide.”
AAA’s experts do warn that the increasing use of technology in many automobiles can create unintended consequences. “These new technologies can be distracting to a driver. It’s important to comply with the guidelines provided for their use and most importantly keep driving your car the number one focus while operating the vehicle” Nielsen said.
Some of the trickled down trends seen by AAA in new vehicle technology include:
Brake Assist-This feature, now standard equipment in some vehicles, recognizes when a driver has just instituted an emergency stop. The system then applies full braking power, even if the driver has not pressed the brake pedal hard enough to do this. If the driver backs off the brakes, the system steps out of the picture. This feature was first offered in some vehicles in the mid-90s after studies showed that even experienced drivers were reluctant to use all the braking power built into their vehicles during an emergency.
Parking Proximity Warning Systems and Backup Cameras- These features let a driver know when he or she is getting close to an object and/or show the path the car is taking. Using sensors, the warning system identifies items, animals or people, including small children that the driver cannot see because his or her view is blocked by parts of the vehicle. The backup camera shows the area directly behind the vehicle when in reverse. Originally a luxury car exclusive, today parking sensors and back up cameras are far more common, even on popularly priced vehicles.
Lane Departure Warning Systems- A safety feature that lets a driver know they have begun to cross over lane markers without signaling, lane departure warning systems use cameras to sense the lane markings on pavement. It will issue a warning that can be audible or take the form of a vibration in the steering wheel.Originally offered on top Infiniti models, today, lane departure warning systems are more widely available.
Active Cruise Control– This feature, once a luxury car exclusive, uses radar or laser to maintain a set distance from the car ahead. If a driver using such a system encounters slower traffic, the cruise control will automatically reduce speed by backing off the throttle. If the traffic clears or speeds up, the active cruise control will return to the driver’s original speed. Newer systems can also apply the brakes when needed to maintain a safe following distance. In some cases the active cruise control system will actually bring the car to a stop if the traffic ahead stops. Active cruise control is now offered as an option on a wide range of vehicles, including those that cost less than $30,000.
Stop-Start- Stop-start is a feature that is well known to any hybrid vehicle owner and drivers in Europe. This technology automatically stops the gasoline engine while the driver waits for a red light to turn green. It saves fuel while reducing emissions. Kia may soon bring this technology to non-hybrid applications in two of their low-priced cars, the Soul and Rio. Expect expanded use of this technology in the next few years as vehicle manufacturers’ work to meet the higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards set for 2016.
Driver Alert Warning System– Driver alert warning systems, originally introduced on costly luxury models, looks for signs of an inattentive or tired driver. There are several ways to monitor the alertness or attention of a driver that range from lane departure to monitoring the driver’s movements via cameras. Despite differences in monitoring technology, when the vehicle senses drowsiness or inattention, it warns the driver to take a break.
Blind Spot Warning Systems– This warning system uses a radar or camera to detect and warn a driver that another vehicle is lurking just out of view in an adjacent lane. Often, an amber light on the appropriate mirror is illuminated when a vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot. If the driver signals to move in that direction, an audible alert or flashing light is activated as a warning. First seen in costly vehicles, it is now standard equipment is some family vehicles, including several Mazda models.
Weight Reduction– Weight reduction is an important feature for all automakers regardless of make or model. This is one area in which lower-priced cars were the pioneers while many luxury car makers and buyers stuck to the theory that heavier is better. Today, luxury cars from makers such as Audi and Jaguar have adopted aluminum and other lightweight materials to reduce weight. The benefit of lower vehicle weight is better performance from the same engine and suspension package and increased fuel economy in all driving conditions.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
March 3rd, 2011 by AAA
ORLANDO, Fla., March 3, 2011
Several new “greener” technologies from automakers join safety and performance features on 2011 list
AAA today released its biennial list of top picks for new vehicle technology. Developed by automotive experts at the nation’s largest motor club, the list features a variety of interesting vehicle technologies intended to improve safety, increase performance and reduce the environmental impact of some of the newest models on the market.
“Every model year, automakers find new ways to employ technology in their vehicles to enhance the driving experience,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “While many of the innovations continue to focus on safety and performance, we’re also seeing more new technologies that address the environmental impact of the vehicles we drive, which is evident in this year’s list.”
AAA’s experts warn not every new vehicle technology necessarily has a positive effect on function or safety. “Many technologies can distract drivers who end up multi-tasking behind the wheel, which takes their focus off the primary task at hand—safely driving their car,” Nielsen said.
This year’s top picks by AAA for new vehicle technology include:
All-Electric Vehicles – While many automakers have electric vehicles in the works, the Nissan Leaf is the first to market from a major car brand. With an estimated 100-mile range between charges, the Leaf is a viable option for many commuters. It drives nicely, has a well-designed interior, and calculated on a cents per mile basis, the electricity that powers it costs less than half as much as gasoline in fuel-efficient cars.
Plug-In Hybrids – These cars provide the benefits of an electric car, while maintaining the same driving range as conventional vehicles. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and soon-to-arrive, plug-in Toyota Prius operate in all-electric mode for a limited local range, after which a downsized gasoline engine is used to either power the vehicle or recharge the battery while the car moves.
Turbocharging and Supercharging – These systems have long been associated with performance, but they also can produce enhanced fuel economy. Turbochargers and superchargers let automakers install smaller engines that burn less fuel during normal driving, yet offer the performance of a larger engine when acceleration is needed for passing or merging. Ford’s EcoBoost engines are an example of this technology, which was recently introduced into its F-150 models, with other manufacturers moving to follow suit.
Inflatable Rear Seatbelts – Both Ford and Mercedes-Benz are working with this technology that promises to bring a large measure of the airbag protection afforded to front-seat occupants to those who are buckled up in the rear. In a crash, the seatbelts inflate, spreading the force of the impact over a larger area of the body, which reduces the likelihood of injuries.
Start-Stop Technology – Common in other parts of the world, but only in limited U.S. use, start-stop technology is making its mainstream debut in America via Mazda’s i-stop feature. The technology shuts off the engine when the car is at a stop, and instantly restarts it when the driver takes his foot off the brake pedal. Common on gasoline-electric hybrids, more widespread application of the technology has the potential to save significant energy in non-hybrid vehicles, particularly in urban environments.
Variable Valve Timing – This feature was once limited to high-cost performance and luxury models, but is now available in nearly every price range of vehicle. Variable valve timing creates more engine power while delivering greater efficiency and lower emissions. The technology is now widespread in models from numerous automakers including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and BMW.
Enhanced Stability Control & Rollover Protection – Introduced in the 2011 Ford Explorer, curve control senses when a driver has entered a turn too quickly which can cause a crash, especially in SUVs, crossovers and pick-up trucks that have high centers of gravity. Curve control backs off the throttle and, if more assistance is needed, applies the brakes. Ford claims the system can reduce vehicle speed by 10 mph in just one second to help the driver maintain control in a curve.
Diesel Engines – While diesel engines have been around for decades, the days of smelly, noisy, smoke-belching and rough-running diesels are gone. Modern diesel engines are clean, quiet, refined and powerful. They also are economical, often providing a 30 percent boost in fuel economy with a corresponding decline in carbon dioxide emissions compared to gasoline engines offering comparable performance. Some top performers in this area include Volkswagen models with TDI diesel engines, and Mercedes-Benz vehicles with BlueTEC diesel power plants.
Alternator Recharging Programs – Some manufacturers, such as Toyota and BMW, limit the time the alternator recharges the battery to higher engine speeds and/or when the car is slowing down. The outcome for the driver is improved performance of engine while idling and better fuel economy.
AAA’s top picks for new vehicle technology are selected by AAA Auto Buying experts who review hundreds of vehicles each year. The list takes into consideration not only the first appearance of a new technology in vehicles, but also its availability to U.S. motorists in popular mainstream vehicles.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.