Although Autonomous Cars Are Not Yet Manufactured, Their Acceptance Already Is

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A range of terms and concepts referring to autonomous vehicle technologies are used both in the scientific and grey literature. Different, often overlapping, concepts and adjectives are used to describe automated vehicles. This abundance of terminology can create conditions for confusion and factual misinterpretation among audiences and between authors. This paper argues the lack of clarity between automated and autonomous cars contributes to increase expectations of current technology and to inappropriate predictions of both public and governments alike. The “autonomous” car, or vehicle, is a misnomer that could mislead potential users and its use may well result in a backlash of rejection, slowing development. To have an overview of driving automation vocabulary, a search of publications referencing “autonomous”,“automated”, “driverless” and “self-driving” cars or vehicles in the ScienceDirect library was conducted. Results showed they were largely used in the scientific literature investigated, despite obvious meaning differences between the concepts. The impact of the incorrect use of these terms on individuals’ acceptance is discussed and clear definitions provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalTheoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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