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Drivers Need More Trustworthy Technology in AVs

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April 6, 2020—A recent study from savvysleeper, a platform run by writers and sleep experts with a passion related to getting a better night's sleep, shows drivers prefer control over convenience.

According to a study of 1,008 people, the majority of respondents said they'd never sleep in an autonomous car. However, 34 percent of people said they would be willing to sleep in a fully autonomous car in the future.

About 60 percent of respondents said removing fatigued drivers from the road was the top benefit of sleeping in a self-driving car.

Sleep-deprived driving is a serious condition similar to alcohol-impaired driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Drowsy Driving Research and Program Plan. Drowsiness leads to slower reaction times, and impaired attention, mental processing, judgment, and decision making. Crash investigators can look for certain clues that drowsiness was likely to have contributed to a driver error, but these clues are not always identifiable or conclusive. 

"For me, the most surprising response was that 12.7 percent of respondents would be comfortable sleeping in a semi-autonomous vehicle with today's technology," says Meg Riley, editor-in-chief of Sleep Junkie, a platform that looks into why and how sleep impacts daily lives. "For the record, there are no road-legal cars available right now that are safe to sleep in whilst driving, and semi-autonomous intrinsically means that you need to retain control over the vehicle even when it's driving itself."

Riley says there will probably be cases of misuse of autonomous technology or malfunction that will lead to more car accidents. Data from the National Safety Council backs Riley up. A driver is three times more likely to be in a car crash if fatigued.

Lack of control was the top reason people wouldn't sleep in a fully autonomous vehicle, followed by a lack of trust toward other drivers on the road.

According to savvysleeper, 37.4 percent of respondents would need a guaranteed "crash-free" technology to feel comfortable sleeping in a fully autonomous car. While autonomous car technology could potentially reduce crashes related to drowsy driving, the next features needed included an audible alert system, technology to make sound decisions during unexpected situations, fully autonomous roadways and a hack-proof operating system.

Self-Driving Car Study


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