Wary or Enthusiastic? MIT Wants Your Views on Automated Driving Technologies

Kamil Kaluski
by Kamil Kaluski
wary or enthusiastic mit wants your views on automated driving technologies

Like it or not, autonomous vehicles are coming in one form or another.

Many new cars on the market already have features that help a driver stay in the driving lane, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, or reduce the severity of a collision. Much like the original stability control, these features may frustrate enthusiasts but they help keep the masses safer and might reduce accidents.

Each year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New England Motor Press Association hold a conference that focuses on various future trends and technologies. This year’s topic is The Intersection of Technology and Design, with a panel discussion exploring trends and challenges as autonomous technology meets the natural aesthetic appeal of the automobile.

To get a better understanding of how American motorists feel about autonomous driving, the MIT AgeLab is presenting a survey that asks pointed questions about their experience, interest, and knowledge of autonomous technologies. It is a very short survey, the results of which will be presented at the conference.

The survey was created by Bryan Reimer, Ph.D., a research scientist in the MIT AgeLab and Associate Director of the New England University Transportation Center at MIT. It not only asks about your comfort level with the technology but also about your trust in technology companies that thus far have had very little experience in the world of automobiles.

“The myth about automation is that as the level of human responsibility decreases so do the need for education,” says Reimer. “Given that we are rapidly increasing the level of automated vehicle technology it is an open question as to where people are going to learn how to appropriately use it.”

That is a legitimate concern. The survey is open from April 26 to May 15. The results will be presented on May 26 at the NEMPA/MIT Technology Conference, which I will attend.

[Images: Volvo Car Corporation, Ford Motor Company]

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  • Steve Biro Steve Biro on Apr 28, 2016

    The sad things is, given the leading nature of many of the questions, I can see them disregarding my responses as beng from an outlier. They'll take a look at my age and just decide I'm a cranky, old luddite who fears all technology and hates anything new. And they'd be completely wrong.

    • WheelMcCoy WheelMcCoy on Apr 28, 2016

      My guess is most TTAC readers share your opinion, but I don't know if enough will respond to make our position a significant data point. @Kamil, I look forward to your follow up article after the conference! I'm sure MIT will have a Q&A session. Please troll them hard... well, while remaining as professional as you can. :)

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Apr 28, 2016

    I tend to begrudgingly accept most new nanny technologies after experiencing them. In particular stability/yaw control, adaptive cruise control and city collision avoidance work too damn well to deny. Two exceptions include lane departure warnings, and traction control that cannot be quickly disengaged when you're immobilized in deep snow. More of a nuisance than anything.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Drove a rental Cherokee for several days at the beginning of this year. Since the inventory of rental cars is still low, this was a 2020 model with 48k miles and V6. Ran fine, no gremlins, graphics display was easy to work, plenty of power, & very comfortable. Someone must of disarmed the lane assistance feature for the steering wheel never shook (YES!!!!!!!!). However, this woman's voice kept nagging me about the speed limit (what's new!?!?!?!).I was impressed enough to consider this a prime candidate to replace my 11 yr old Ford Escape. Might get a good deal with the close out of the model. Time will tell. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Bullnuke One wonders if this poor woman entered the US through Roxham Road...
  • Johnds Years ago I pulled over a vehicle from either Manitoba or Ontario in North Dakota for speeding. The license plates and drivers license did not come up on my dispatchers computer. The only option was to call their government. Being that it was 2 am, that wasn’t possible so they were given a warning.
  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
  • VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.