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Consumers Want ADAS—If It Works Correctly

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April 6, 2021Automakers may already hold the key to improving public acceptance of self-driving cars: fine-tuning existing vehicle technology.

AAA’s annual automated vehicle survey found that only 22 percent of drivers feel manufacturers should focus on developing self-driving vehicles, partly because most drivers (80 percent) say they want current vehicle safety systems to work better.

That being said, a solid 58 percent said they want these systems in their next vehicle, which is positive, considering nearly 96 percent of 2020 vehicle models came equipped with at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS).

“People are ready to embrace new vehicle technology, especially if it will make driving safer,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “Consumers are clear about what they want and if automakers seize the opportunity to provide a better experience now, it will pave the way for the vehicles of tomorrow.”

Here's where shops need to pay close attention: For many consumers buying new vehicles equipped with these systems, this could be their first interaction with more advanced vehicle technology. Previous AAA research has found that some systems, particularly those that provide the highest level of automation available to the public, do not always work as expected. These negative experiences could influence driver opinion of future vehicle automation.

That only underscores why so many consumers still distrust the idea of riding in a self-driving car; if even a partially automated car has issues, how could a fully automated car be trusted? AAA noted it also reinforces the need for manufacturers to continue to hone vehicle technology by expanding testing and focusing on including more real-world scenarios encountered by drivers.

Although fully self-driving vehicles are still years away from being commercially available, drivers will begin to interact with various levels of new vehicle technology and shops have a real opportunity to help educate the public about these technologies, and their own shops' abilities to properly and safely repair them.

“Transparent, accurate and frequent information from the industries involved in developing self-driving vehicles will ease consumer concerns,” said Brannon.

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