Though national confidence in autonomous vehicle technology remains low, riders using the University of Michigan's Mcity driverless shuttles seem to have grown more comfortable with the technology.
(TNS) — Despite national studies indicating weak public sentiment toward autonomous vehicles, 86% of riders of the
Two fully automatic 11-passenger shuttles operated a fixed route around UM's North Campus in from
The initiative launched as consumer trust in automated vehicles was declining following two fatal crashes involving partially automated vehicles in
Results of a user survey were published Thursday in an 11-page white paper in collaboration with research firm
"That the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project resulted in high levels of consumer satisfaction and trust among riders, in spite of declining satisfaction with AVs nationally, underscores the importance of robust preparation and oversight to ensure a safe deployment that will build consumer confidence,"
Of the respondents, 97% said they were aware that the shuttle was fully automated, and 86% of riders rode it once. For 47% of riders, it replaced pedestrian transportation mostly in the afternoon with passengers citing an interest in autonomous vehicles and general curiosity. Riders on average rated the experience 7.87 of 10, and three-quarters said they would be willing to ride the shuttle again.
Passengers said the slow speed, inconsistent stops and the shuttle being too cautious at intersections were areas for improvement. The human safety conductors never were called to act in a situation when the shuttle failed to do so, according to the report, but conductors regularly did stop the shuttle manually based on the environment around them such as when pedestrians were waiting to cross the street.
The shuttles are no longer in operation. U-M donated one of the two vehicles to The Henry Ford museum in
The report also emphasized the importance of extensive training for conductors, clear safety protocols and daily communications among those involved in the project along with the community at large to educate and encourage participation. The writers conclude autonomous shuttle should provide a practical transportation alternative that happens to be automated rather than the other way around.
"Researching consumer interaction with the Mcity Driverless Shuttle emphasized the critical importance that experience brings to building trust with automated vehicle technology,"
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