American ANWB: ‘Nobody is waiting for self-driving cars’

Greg Bannon of the American Automobile Association, the American equivalent of ‘our’ ANWB, sees few consumers waiting for an autonomously driving car. Instead, the self-driving car would at most be a solution for commercial activities.

Bannon is the AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, so he’s not the best. He talks through himself to Automotive News, but the AAA has reportedly already questioned the future of the fully autonomous car. Judging by the direction many automakers are taking and the concept cars we’ve seen in recent years, a significant part of the industry seems to expect that we’ll all end up being driven to work with our hands crossed. However, an earlier survey by the AAA among 62 million (!) members would have shown that only 18 percent are waiting for self-driving cars. 77 percent would like more safety, but they do not want to hand over the steering wheel themselves.

“There just isn’t a business case for fully autonomous driving cars from private buyers,” Bannon said at an event on the theme. He even sees real dangers in it: “What if the owner does not maintain such a car, for example not replace the tires in time, and then has a fatal accident? Who is responsible then?” Instead of focusing on Autopilot-like systems, carmakers should therefore invest their money and time in improving existing safety systems, according to the AAA man.

Bannon does see opportunities for business use. In the American category of ‘fleet sales’, for example for taxi services and other commercial users, good agreements can be made about maintenance and responsibilities, according to him.

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