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UK motorists sceptical on driverless cars

Safety concerns over an increased risk of road accidents appear to be behind the less-than-convincing opinions on driverless technology, uncovered in a new survey.

Almost 2,000 drivers were questioned by the RAC on various aspects of autonomous driving – with only 5% agreeing that continued investment is the best use of government money at this time.

The RAC acknowledged a “widespread scepticism” around driverless vehicles, with many drivers unconvinced by their safety credentials.

‘Not in my lifetime’

In total 40% of drivers believe the idea of there being a million driverless cars on UK roads within the next 20 years is ‘pie in the sky’

Around 17% say they doubt they’ll live long enough to see a million driverless cars on the roads.

Two out of five motorists say the Government should concentrate on improving roads rather than supporting the technology.

Over a quarter (27%) think money would be better spent in the health or education sectors, while 17% support investment in autonomous cars but believe it “should not be a priority”.

In March, the Government announced plans for the first phase of a £100 million investment in testing infrastructure to develop the technology.

Common fears

The most common concern about the technology is the reliability of the software (46%), followed by the loss of personal control of vehicles (27%) and cyber attacks (10%).

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Very understandably motorists have a range of questions and concerns about driverless cars.

“There is clearly some widespread scepticism about the technology becoming prevalent and some concerns over reliability which are no doubt based on motorists’ everyday experiences of computers and the lack of resilience of the software they use.

“Finding out that around half of motorists would rather see the money the Government has allocated to encourage the development of driverless cars used to improve the condition of the roads they drive on is perhaps not a great surprise.”

Some driverless cars are expected to be deployed on UK motorways within the next three years.

Reference: RAC