Most residents in California are likely aware that their roads and highways have been the location of many test rides by autonomous vehicle manufacturers. From Silicon Valley down through Southern California, the state has been a leader in advancing the notion of fully self-driving cars on American roads to improve safety and reduce accidents.
In fact, California is home to the biggest site where autonomous vehicles are tested. Called GoMentum Station, the location is in the Bay Area and was originally owned and operated by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. It, however, has just been sold to AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah. According to Transport Topics, the change in ownership is designed to allow AAA to further work already in progress but also to tap into its large member base to drive consumer trust in and adoption of these technologies.
Over the last couple of years, different studies have indicated varying levels of readiness among American drivers when it comes to accepting fully autonomous vehicles. Some trends are seen that align with generations as younger people may be more inclined to trust a self-driving car than people in the baby boom generation, for example.
AAA indicates that one of its first efforts will be to create a lab focused on testing communication technologies with existing roadside technologies. It is also intent on ensuring autonomous vehicle technologies are developed with safety in mind. The backing of AAA may well be one of the biggest supports to this emerging industry due to its widespread popularity and good reputation among Americans of all ages.