Cars and similar vehicles have been a part of our daily lives for the large part of the last century. Despite their widespread use among people, many questions have persisted surrounding the confidence in road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently stated that human error is the root cause of 94% of serious accidents.
Many advances have been made in the past to curb the rate of accidents as well as their impact. These have included airbags, blind-spot monitors, back-up cameras and driver assistance systems. As more technological changes are made, people such as Malcolm Gladwell, ring the bell for driverless or automated vehicles with more enthusiasm. However, there are still challenges that developers must face surrounding the design and perception of such vehicles.
The “Our Driverless Futures” public forums are designed to determine how people feel about driverless vehicles. Each forum consisted of six sessions that utilized questions to gain audiences insight in areas such as safety, concern among different degrees of automated control and the importance among several types of concern. The description, as well as a brief overview of the results can be found here.
Participants were asked both prior and after the forum to give an one-word response about towards their feelings about automated vehicles. The bubble chart below uses darker shades of red to highlight words that were more frequently heard as well using filters to differentiate those that were more optimistic about the idea than others.