Americans are just not warming up to the idea of self-driving cars. AAA's annual Automated Vehicle Survey finds 71 percent of people are afraid to ride in fully self-driving vehicles.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble said the technology is so new and people are afraid of giving up control of their own safety. Over the course of the last year or so, there have been several high-profile automated vehicle crashes, which has driven that doubt up from a survey a year earlier.

Noble believes the keys to helping consumers feel more comfortable with self-driving vehicles are education and experience.

There are a lot of automated features that are in vehicles today that people are very comfortable with, including blind-spot monitoring systems, lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control. AAA found that on average, drivers who have one of these ADAS technologies are about 68 percent more likely to trust these features than drivers who don't have them.

The study also found that 53 percent of Americans are receptive to the idea of this technology in self-driving cars, but in small doses and in more limited applications. Noble said that refers to shuttle bus type service, trolley service that will take a person from Point A to Point B on a closed circuit.

About 44 percent of people are comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles for delivery of food or packages. But once the passengers become more personal, especially transporting their loved ones, 1 in 5 remain comfortable.

Currently, 55 percent of Americans think by 2029 most cars will have the ability to drive themselves. Noble thinks that timeline is a little bit aggressive because there's still a long way to go, especially in regions prone to severe weather events. She said most of these autonomous cars were tested predominantly in fair weather climate. So what happens on snow covered roadways? That still needs to be figured out.

"It's evolving technology. It's exciting. But people are also very weary of it," Noble said. "To me it just comes back down to that control factor because people want to remain in control of their own safety."

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM