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Root canals. Colonoscopies. Chupacabras. Autonomous vehicles (AVs). Some of those are real and scary, but AVs?

Seems that's the case. AAA has come out with a new survey showing 71 percent of American adults "are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle."

AAA suspects that contributing to this remarkable finding is "a number of high-profile automated vehicle incidents" that occurred in the past year. Arguably the number of those incidents could be counted on one hand, so while they're sad, it's not like they're happening on a regular basis.

On a somewhat more positive note, the study found 53 percent "are comfortable with low-speed, short-distant forms of transportation like people movers found at airports or theme parks." But the remarkable thing is that this could mean 47 percent aren't comfortable with one of those forms of transportation. What's the likelihood they'll ever get into an AV?

Even more startling is that only 44 percent "are comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles for delivery of food or packages."

Another finding in the AAA study is that of the drivers who have lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking, or self-parking systems, 68 percent are "more likely to trust these features than drivers who don't have them." Odds are the other 32 percent don't know they have those systems and wonder why the damn car keeps beeping every time they cross a yellow line.

According to Greg Brannon, AAA's director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations, "Despite fears still running high, AAA's study also shows that Americans are willing to take baby steps toward incorporating this type of technology into their lives."

If anyone should be scared about this survey it's the companies that are investing millions of dollars in self-driving technology. Seems like they're developing a technology a whole lot of Americans don't want, baby steps notwithstanding.

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