Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Coastal areas in the southeastern United States face the threat of hurricanes each year. Some of the greatest danger associated with these storms is experienced by citizens without personal means to evacuate. Along with storms comes the inevitable post-disaster relief process of evaluating losses and delivering supplies. With the rapid development of autonomous vehicle technology, this study examines the potential use of autonomous vehicles, publicly or privately owned, to assist in these evacuation and disaster relief efforts. Examining this new field of study, the researchers hosted three focus groups and received 1050 responses to an online survey. Based on the results of this survey, three ordered logistic models were created, determining that factors such as technology acceptance, larger household size, more giving experience, and regular religious activity were positively associated with greater household willingness to share an autonomous vehicle to aid in the evacuation of others and/or the delivery of relief supplies. Similarly, being over the age of 65, having few social media accounts, and commuting to work in a single-occupancy vehicle were negatively associated with willingness to share in the evacuation and/or disaster relief scenarios. This study also found common limitations on this willingness to share such as length of time the shared vehicle is gone and strength of storm as well as desired compensation like vehicle insurance. In all, this project determined that shared autonomous vehicles could be a future tool for emergency management officials to provide evacuation and disaster assistance.
Shirley, Thomas Alan, "Sharing is Caring: Assessing Willingness to Share Autonomous Vehicles for Evacuation and Disaster Relief" (2020). All Theses. 3627.