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AAA Poll Reveals Almost 3/4 Americans Have Doubts About Self-Driving Cars

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new poll by AAA reveals most Americans have a negative impression of self-driving cars -- almost three-quarters to be exact.

The survey shows public trust in autonomous vehicles has declined by 11 points over the last year.

"Whenever there are high-profile incidents involving self-driving vehicles or the testing of them, we see that consumers then...their level of fear as far as these vehicles are concerned, increases," said Ragina Cooper Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Last May, a driverless Uber hit and killed an Arizona woman crossing the street. And though incredibly rare, crashes like this have changed perceptions nationwide.

In Maryland, drivers have serious doubts about letting a computer take the wheel.

"I don't know that I would ride in one, I've read some things about some accidents. But I think if the technology was really perfected, it could really cut down on accidents," said Marylander Erin Michael.

"Do I trust a robot to drive me around town? They sound great, they sound like a wonderful idea if the technology is ready. I don't think it is," said Marylander Tim Nohe.

"I know people that have been in them though, they say it's pretty cool. Like in Pittsburgh, the driver-less Ubers. So, hopefully it comes to Baltimore," said Marylander Kwe Parker.

Pittsburgh is one city where the court of public opinion has not halted progress. The city reinstated self-driving Ubers last year, with the goal that these cars could make roads safer.

"The reality is that the reason why autonomous vehicles are so much in the forefront right now, is because we're looking at this technology to be a way to reduce traffic fatalities on the roadways," Averella said.

The poll also found more than half of Americans think most cars will have the ability to drive themselves in the next 10 years.

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