Technology features are continually being introduced by automakers to benefit drivers on the road and make driving more efficient. However, in a recent survey conducted by AAA, they found that nearly one in 10 drivers think they can buy a car that drives itself while they sleep. As of right now, there are no such vehicles available for purchase that allow a driver to fully disengage from driving.

"Sixty-eight percent of people are afraid of getting in a fully autonomous self-driving vehicle," said Elizabeth Carey, AAA's public relations director for Western and Central New York. “It is surprising that it has increased by 13% in one year. People are saying, ‘Wait a minute, we already have autonomous features on our cars like lane keeping and automatic braking.’ However, the majority are still reluctant when it comes to fully autonomous vehicles.”

Survey results indicate that there is still confusion about self-driving car capabilities. In a conversation with professor Selmer Bringsjord of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he would like to know what features car companies plan to implement.

“Are you going to try to create a car that drives itself by sensing, signaling, and reasoning in a similar manner as a human?” said Bringsjord “Do you want to try to make a car that dodges the way people approach driving and does it in a way that is very different, more inspired by how navigation systems work, if you will?"

Tesla Motors recently recalled more than 360,000 vehicles because of software issues that “led to an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety based on insufficient adherence to traffic safety laws.” Tesla disagrees with the agency’s findings, despite submitting to the recall. 

AAA found that 22% of Americans expect driver support systems, with names like Autopilot, ProPILOT or Pilot Assist, to have the ability to drive the car by itself without any supervision, indicating a gap in consumer understanding.

The definition of a self-driving car is a vehicle that can drive itself without human interaction at any time. A driver is neither required to operate the vehicle nor to remain inside while it is driving. These findings suggest that public trust and knowledge about emerging vehicle technology still require improvement despite recent advances. Doing your due diligence is the best approach for those in the market for a new car or looking for advanced features.