(TNS) -- Most Americans still say they're afraid to ride in a self-driving car — but a new survey found indications that attitude may change as autonomous features become more common.
A survey by AAA found that 75 percent of drivers were nervous about completely giving up the wheel to a computer. Most, however, still want their next car to include some autonomous features.
Self-driving cars so far have a pretty good safety record. Google's self-driving cars have put nearly 1.5 million miles on the odometer in autonomous mode, but it just notched its first at-fault crash last month.
The Lexus-model car collided with a public transit bus in Mountain View, where Google is based, as it tried to maneuver around sandbags near a storm drain. The car — and its human minder along for the ride — predicted the bus would yield as it moved into its path, but the bus didn't. The Google car was traveling two mph; the bus was going 15 mph.
"This is a classic example of the negotiation that's a normal part of driving — we're all trying to predict each other's movements," Google said in a monthly report on its self-driving car experiments. "In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved there wouldn't have been a collision."
University of Michigan researchers last year found autonomous vehicles crash more often than those driven by humans, but they were — to that point — never at fault. While injury rates were higher for occupants of autonomous vehicles, the injuries were less severe, mostly because the vehicles were traveling at lower speeds. (Google's self-driving cars, for example, top out at 25 mph.)
Autonomous features — from Tesla's almost-self-driving Autopilot mode to self-parking and lane-assist systems — are growing more routine, and that may help drivers get used to handing some control over to software.
Drivers with vehicles that already have some autonomous features were 75 percent more likely to say they trust self-driving technology, the survey found.
AAA conducted the telephone survey in January. It survey included 1,832 drivers 18 and older, and the results have a margin of error of 2.7 percent.
©2016 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.