Maybe People Don't Want Self-Driving Cars After All

A recent study by J.D. Power and MIT reveals that public trust in self-driving cars, including autonomous vehicles used by ride-hailing services and systems like Tesla’s “Autopilot,” has declined for the second consecutive year. The 2023 Mobility Confidence Index Study indicates that consumer confidence in autonomous vehicles has dropped from 42 out of 100 in 2021 to 37 out of 100 in 2023. Negative media coverage and frequent robotaxi crashes have contributed to this decline in trust. While first-time riders in robotaxis tend to report positive attitudes toward autonomous vehicles, they are offset by negative media coverage. The study emphasizes that consumer trust is crucial for the long-term acceptance of autonomous vehicles, but the ongoing deployment issues and safety concerns are undermining that trust. Regulatory agencies are becoming increasingly involved in addressing AV crashes, raising questions about the industry’s approach to deployment. Researchers at MIT suggest reevaluating the core technology and addressing foundational issues to regain trust. Additionally, the study highlights the confusion caused by marketing autonomous vehicles as “self-driving” when they are not truly autonomous, with 22 percent of respondents mistakenly believing that Tesla EVs can operate fully autonomously. This misrepresentation may harm the perception of AV technology.