Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche went on the record as saying that the investigation into Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft is indicative of how hard it would be for the public to accept self-driving car technology in case of a major incident.
Regulators were forced to ground the 737 MAX pending an investigation into whether it was Boeing’s software-based automated flight control system that caused two deadly crashes in the span of five months. According to Zetsche, this reflects poorly on autonomous cars.
“What is very important is the psychological dimension. If you look at what is happening with Boeing then you can imagine what happens when such a system has an accident,” he said with regards to the car industry’s continuous efforts to develop fully autonomous vehicles.
“Even if autonomous cars are 10 times safer than those driven by humans, it takes one spectacular incident to make it much harder to win widespread acceptance.”
Speaking of acceptance, a recent survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA), revealed that 71% of people questioned (1,008 interviews) are afraid to ride in fully autonomous vehicles. While this type of general feeling might change, it definitely won’t happen over night, so until then, interacting with semi-autonomous tech might actually be the best way to gain full acceptance.