Home » A Whopping 66% Of Drivers Are Afraid Of Self-Driving Vehicles: Survey

A Whopping 66% Of Drivers Are Afraid Of Self-Driving Vehicles: Survey

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The general polling of Americans can sometimes be depressing, but the number of my fellow driving citizens who either are afraid of or distrustful of self-driving vehicles seems appropriately high to me. Go America!

After a lot of complaining about California’s emissions regime, Stellantis has come to an agreement that likely allow it to start selling all its cars in all states again.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Hertz has also come to an agreement with its CEO Stephen Scherr, in that the company has agreed he wont work there anymore after a big bet on electric cars blew up in his face.

And, finally, Lotus is getting a bespoke program, because rich people love bespoke programs (maybe everyone loves bespoke programs, actually, but not everyone can afford them). It’s a humpday Morning Dump, let’s do it like Shock G.

Fear Of A Self-Driving Planet

AAA Chart
Chart: AAA

A huge number of drivers are unsure about self-driving cars (25%) or just outright don’t trust them (66%). Only 9% of drivers actually trust self-driving vehicles.

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These numbers come via this survey by AAA, the roadside assistance company that also won’t stop asking me to sign up for freakin’ life insurance every three days (I might not renew, tbh, it’s getting bad).

Given all the coverage of crashes involving Teslas and general confusion on the part of robotaxis, it’s not a big surprise. Obviously, there are few true self-driving cars on the roads, so some people are just afraid of the unfamiliar. This is one of those occasions, though, where I think the Overton Window is just about as open as it needs to be.

I say this because we are far from what is true full self-driving in most situations, but there are numerous Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that are helpful safety additions to vehicles. The good news, according to this same study, is that people seem interested in these helpful features:

Chart of interest in semi-autonomous featuers
Chart: AAA

It’s interesting that only 48% of people are ok with adaptive cruise control given that these are common systems on vehicles that probably get used at a high percentage.

Stellantis And California Reach Emissions Deal

2023 Jeep Wagoneer L And Grand W

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Stellantis has been causing all kinds of issues for its dealers, refusing to ship certain vehicles to California and a handful of other populous states that follow California’s emissions guidance unless directly ordered.

That’s probably coming to an end as the State of California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Stellantis have a deal in place that’ll see Stellantis voluntarily agreeing to CARB’s guidelines.

Here’s the buoyant press release from Stellantis with the positively spun headline: Stellantis and California Partner to Drive Carbon Emissions Reduction Efforts.

I love this formulation. This morning, my daughter and I partnered on school lateness reduction efforts (barely).

So what’s Stellantis gotta say about all this?

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As part of the agreement with CARB, Stellantis pledged to expand its ongoing commitment to strengthen its electrification offensive through educational efforts for U.S. consumers and dealers on the benefits of electric vehicles (EV). This includes collaborating with Veloz, the leader in promoting EV awareness efforts, providing discounted EVs to organizations in disadvantaged communities, building upon ongoing efforts and contributing an additional $10 million for the installation of public EV chargers.

“Together, we have found a win-win solution that is good for the customer and good for the planet,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. “This agreement will avoid 10 to 12 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the agreement and will also allow our U.S. customers to fully benefit from our advanced technologies, including five plug-in hybrids and two pure electric vehicles. We remain as determined as ever to offer sustainable options across our brand portfolio and being a leader in the global decarbonization efforts.”

“This partnership with Stellantis will help California achieve our ambitious goals to drastically cut pollution and get more clean cars on the roads,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “The biggest and most influential companies in the world understand that this is how we can fight climate change together, and it’s another example of the private sector joining California to help millions of people get into clean vehicles.”

Tavares/Newsom 2028!

Hertz CEO Falls On EV Sword

A white Polestar 2 parked next to a Hertz rental agency sign.
Photo credit: Polestar

The car rental business seems like a shaky one to me, dependent on a bunch of factors that rental agencies can’t control (used car values, disposable income of travelers).

Hertz, in particular, tried to make a big show of buying a bunch of Teslas as it launched its post-COVID bankruptcy IPO. It worked for a brief second before the reality of how hard that would be became apparent and a new CEO, Stephen Scherr, was left trying to make it work.

It didn’t work. Hertz ended up buying a bunch of Teslas at the height of the market when the vehicles were the most expensive, which meant that Elon Musk’s constant price-slashing devalued this huge asset when Hertz decided to sell most of its fleet. That’s not really Hertz’s fault.

While good due diligence should have prevailed here, the fact that EVs are more expensive to fix and take longer to fix isn’t precisely Hertz’s fault (the company told investors the repair costs were about double ICE cars), though it is its problem.

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The rest of the issues? Those are more Hertz’s fault. Even before the pandemic, when I was renting cars almost every week for work, the quality of Hertz’s services felt like they were slipping. The fact that the charging rules were prohibitive and the lack of chargers in some markets were an issue seems like something Hertz should have figured out ahead of time.

From CNN:

“The execution and marketing of EV’s [by Hertz] was a horror show across the board,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities who follows the EV market. “It’s a black eye they couldn’t recover from.”

Part of the problem for Hertz was that even people who might want to buy an EV wouldn’t necessarily want to rent one while on the road, when they don’t necessarily have the ability to plug them in to charge them as they would at a private home. There might not be a charging station, or enough time, for a rental car customer to charge an EV, Ives said.

By hewing to charging rules the way Hertz has enforced refueling rules, it may have dissuaded customers from wanting to rent an electric car. Without building any charging infrastructure at its rental locations, Hertz may have hurt its own business.

So, Scherr is gone, even if it the idea for the Hertz deal was actually from former Ford CEO Mark Fields.

Lotus Chapman Bespoke Is Now A Thing

Lotus Chapman Bespoke Eletra

Luxury and sports car automakers like Porsche and Bentley have made obscene money from customers who want their Bentayga or 911 or whatever to exactly match their desires.

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Here’s an example of a Porsche bespoke color:

(I actually worked on this video a little, which was fun).

Lotus is now getting in on the business, launching in China in April and then hitting the rest of the world soon. While Porsche calls it Porsche Exclusive, Lotus is calling it Lotus Chapman Bespoke:

With Bespoke, there are three levels of personalisation and customisation to choose from:

  1. Tailor-made: choose your own unique combination from within a broad palate of colours and designs, and finish with exclusive personal touches and details.
  2. Collection: choose from a selection of limited-edition designs, bought to life in partnership with partners, artists and likeminded luxury brands.
  3. One-off: As the name suggests, build a car as unique as you are.

I can’t wait to see what people come up with as I love bespoke/custom cars.

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What I’m Jamming To While Making TMD

This came on the radio! My daughter was like “Whaaat is this?” And I was like “We’re late, but this is going to get us to school on time, trust me.” Soul Coughing is so weird.

The Big Question

We’ve got an AAA survey here, so my question is: Do you subscribe to any roadside assistance program?

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Aaronaut
Aaronaut
3 months ago

Even AAA confused “braking” for “breaking”? Sheesh.

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
3 months ago

My regular car insurance includes roadside assistance, so I don’t need to subscribe to it separately.

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