The fatal Uber crash near Phoenix last year did more than push the pause button on testing. It also rattled consumers who someday will be asked to ride in self-driving vehicles.
Surveys taken after the Uber crash showed that drivers are reluctant to give up control to a computer. One by AAA found that 73 percent of American drivers would be too fearful to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. That’s up from 63 percent in late 2017.
Autonomous vehicle companies are showing test passengers information on screens about where the vehicles are headed and what its sensors are seeing. The more people ride, the more they trust the vehicles, says Waymo’s Krafcik.
“After they become more and more confident they rarely look at the screens, and they’re on their phones or relaxing or sleeping,” he said.