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What the Rise of Autonomous Forklifts Can Teach Us About Accepting Self-Driving Cars

The technology to make fully autonomous vehicles has surpassed the public’s autonomous vehicle acceptance threshold. In a AAA study released in March, 75 percent of drivers in the United States said they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car, and only 20 percent of drivers said they would trust a vehicle to drive itself.

There are several ways auto manufacturers are handling this. There’s the GM and Lyft method that will debut in 2017, which will treat ride-sharing like a free Costco sample by giving people a taste of autonomy before they buy into it for themselves. And then there’s “hybrid adoption” — like what Tesla is doing with Autopilot. Elon Musk says that Tesla will always offer people a choice between manual and autonomous, but in theory, slightly increasing the level of autonomy with each Autopilot upgrade could Inception people into acceptance.

The main difference between the two: Hybrid adoption has already proven itself as a viable solution. The evidence can be found in the forklift industry.

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