​Safety concerns determine level of public support for AVs, NTU Singapore study finds

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Singapore, 19 March 2021 – When it comes to the use of autonomous vehicles (AVs), an individual’s support for their adoption hinges on how safe they are, rather than the economic benefits or privacy concerns. This is the finding of a study by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) involving 1,006 Singaporeans.

The study, which was led by Wee Kim Wee from School of Communication and Information, exposed its participants to positive and negative blog posts about AVs and their safety, their impact on jobs and the economy, and their collection of data. These three ‘frames’—how something is presented to the public—were selected from a content analysis of a news media’s reports from 2015 to 2020.

The respondents were then asked if they thought that AVs were bad/good, foolish/wise, unpleasant/pleasant, useless/useful and dangerous/safe. Their support for AVs was also measured on a five-point scale.

After being exposed to information on how potentially dangerous AVs could be, the respondents held less favourable attitudes towards AVs. This remains true even when they were showed a positive blog post on how AVs could create many high-paying jobs or provide convenience and efficiency.

Professor Shirley Ho, the research team’s leader, said, “One major debate about AVs, which hinges on the use of artificial intelligence technologies, lies in their limitation to make judgments that intersect human values, moral rights, ethics and social norms. This limitation may present safety risks, particularly in cases where traffic accidents are unavoidable. This could potentially explain why the negative safety messages in our study had a stronger effect on the respondents.”

She added that with the drive towards AV adoption globally, these findings provide policymakers with important insights. Singapore has expanded AV testing to cover all public roads in its western areas and aims to serve three areas with driverless buses from next year.

These findings build on a 2020 NTU study that surveyed the same sample of 1,006 Singaporeans. This study found that the public willingness towards using AVs is ‘marginally positive’. This is driven by their value predispositions such as their perception of the risks and benefits of AVs, as opposed to general science knowledge or AV-specific knowledge.

Professor Ho said, “These findings suggest that AVs may not achieve widespread usage in Singapore if there are no efforts to promote it, limiting the degree to which society can reap the technology’s benefits.”

– Construction+ Online

Source: NTU وان ایکس بت بت فوروارد