55 Percent express reluctance to ride in autonomous cars

IMechE survey shows reticence of UK public towards the prospect of autonomous vehicles on the roads of the country.

UK Government and companies such as Google, Ford and Uber are all championing driverless car technology, but according to a public survey, much more work is needed to convince the public of the benefits of driverless vehicles.

According to the survey, carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 55% of the 2002 people surveyed said they were unlikely to want to be a passenger of a driverless car, with 40% said they were very unlikely to want to be a passenger. Just 21% of the people surveyed said they would be happy to ride in a driverless vehicle.

Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The benefits of driverless vehicle technology are huge, with estimates that it could be worth as much as £51 billion a year to the UK due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade. Furthermore with 95% of all vehicle accidents being the result of human error, it makes sense to look at how we can use this new technology to help save lives.

“UK Government and industry is increasingly aware of these benefits of driverless technologies, and Government’s pledge in the Queen’s speech to ensure insurance is available to users of driverless cars is encouraging. But clearly there is still a long way to go to increase public confidence in the effectiveness and safety benefits of driverless technology.

“Many vehicles already feature driverless technology, such as a self-parking functionality and automatic braking, so public perceptions are likely to change over time. But if we truly want the UK to become a world leader of driverless vehicle technology we need to get the public on-side and championing the projects like Greenwich’s GATEway Project and the Lutz Pathfinder in Milton Keynes.

“Government and industry must work together not only to better educate and inform the public about driverless car technology but to make sure that they are developing the products that the end users want.”

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