Published on 18 Mar 2021

Safety concerns determine level of public support for driverless vehicles, finds study

Tech Xplore (US), 18 Mar -

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When it comes to the use of driverless vehicles, an individual's support for their adoption hinges on how safe they are, rather than their economic impact or privacy concerns stemming from the data they might collect, a NTU Singapore study of 1,006 Singaporeans has found.

Led by the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, the study found that after being exposed to information on how potentially dangerous driverless vehicles could be, the respondents held less favourable attitudes towards driverless vehicles even when showed a positive blog post on the convenience and economical benefits of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

Prof Shirley Ho, who led the research team, said: "One major debate about driverless cars, which hinges on the use of artificial intelligence technologies, lies in their limitation to make judgments that lie at the intersections of human values, moral rights, ethics, and social norms. This limitation may present safety risks, particularly in cases when traffic accidents are unavoidable. This could potentially explain why the negative safety messages in our study had a stronger effect on the respondents." She added that with the drive towards AV adoption globally, these findings provide policymakers with important insights.