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Will Automated Trucks Trigger the Blame Game and Socially Amplify Risks?

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Document pages: 21 pages

Abstract: This study explores how US car drivers respond to a hypothetical but plausible news story about an incident involving an automated truck. We also evaluate the degree to which drivers intend to communicate risk perception through word of mouth and social media. Although industry expects automated trucks to increase safety, lower energy consumption, and alleviate transportation bottlenecks, prior studies of public perception of automated trucks have identified concerns about safety and job losses. We employed a between-subjects experiment to evaluate both the perception of risk and blame and the intent to communicate concerns by word of mouth and social media. Participants were exposed to a hypothetical news story regarding an automated truck accident without including cues on fault. The appearance of the truck was varied between experiment conditions, testing both human-driven and automated trucks. While we successfully manipulated perceptions of the design of the truck using several areas of literature, we did not find distinct risk and communication responses between different designs of the truck. We did find substantial differences in risk perception, blame, and intent to communicate risk between a human-driven and automated truck in an otherwise identical scenario.

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