Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Frontiers in Psychology




Frontiers Media



Self-driving cars are an extremely high level of autonomous technology and represent a promising technology that may help older adults safely maintain independence. However, human behavior with automation is complex and not straightforward (Parasuraman and Riley, 1997; Parasuraman, 2000; Rovira et al., 2007; Parasuraman and Wickens, 2008; Parasuraman and Manzey, 2010; Parasuraman et al., 2012). In addition, because no fully self-driving vehicles are yet available to the public, most research has been limited to subjective survey-based assessments that depend on the respondents’ limited knowledge based on second-hand reports and do not reflect the complex situational and dispositional factors known to affect trust and technology adoption.


To address these issues, the current study examined the specific factors that affect younger and older adults’ trust in self-driving vehicles.


The results showed that trust in self-driving vehicles depended on multiple interacting variables, such as the age of the respondent, risk during travel, impairment level of the hypothesized driver, and whether the self-driving car was reliable.


The primary contribution of this work is that, contrary to existing opinion surveys which suggest broad distrust in self-driving cars, the ratings of trust in self-driving cars varied with situational characteristics (reliability, driver impairment, risk level). Specifically, individuals reported less trust in the self-driving car when there was a failure with the car technology; and more trust in the technology in a low risk driving situation with an unimpaired driver when the automation was unreliable.


DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00800