UK views on driverless cars mirrors US: We’re not ready for it yet either


Earlier this week we had the views of US drivers on whether they would be happy with being ferried around in autonomous vehicles, and the response was less than unanimous. Now, survey data from UK insurance provider Bobatoo shows only a quarter of UK respondents would describe themselves as ‘excited’ about driverless cars.

This survey differs from the study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which focused exclusively on respondents with drivers’ licences. For Bobatoo, it was a mix: only three quarters of the more than 900 respondents could drive.

Predominantly, respondents ticked ‘not bothered’ (39%) when asked how they felt about the development of self-driving cars, while only 27% of respondents said they would choose a self-driving car over their current model.

35% of those polled however said they were ‘concerned’ about the development of autonomous cars. Not surprisingly, the majority of these complaints revolved around perceived safety fears of autonomous vehicles. Replies to the survey from concerned respondents included “sounds dangerous”, “worried they would lose control somehow” and “wouldn’t feel comfortable in one.”

For the UMTRI findings, a correlation was noted whereby drivers would be less reticent about self-driving cars if they were given partial controls, such as a steering wheel and brake pedals. Brandon Schoettle, the UMTRI report author, told this publication he expected the results to become more positive on fully autonomous vehicles if they were tracked over the coming years.

The interesting caveat here, in both studies, revolves around users’ security fears of the autonomous vehicles. As Google is keen to point out, every single accident involving its self-driving cars so far has been the result of human error. Developments in concepts such as swarm intelligence, where vehicles work together, sharing data to keep a safe distance between each other, is also an intriguing development. Yet the average UK consumer remains unconvinced for the time being.

You can see the full results in a blog post here.

Leave a comment


This will only be used to quickly provide signup information and will not allow us to post to your account or appear on your timeline.