Driverless Cars: Would You Get In One?
Nearly half of UK motorists refuse to be a passenger due to safety concerns. But what about you?
We’re told that they are the future of motoring and soon autonomous cars will rule the roads as man-powered cars will eventually be considered too dangerous to be legal in our health & safety obsessed country.
But what’s stopping you handing over the wheel? We’ve posed the primary concerns of the general public, and the issues they have with getting into an autonomous car, but we want to know ‘would you get in one?’
Driverless cars are being tested throughout the world but 48.3% of Britain’s motorists would refuse to be a passenger, uSwitch research suggests. A major stumbling block seems to be safety concerns.
The price comparison website’s survey – of 953 adults – shows that 27.5% worry for the well-being of other drivers; and 15.8% for pedestrians and cyclists. For such reasons, 15.5% are “horrified” at the prospect of such machinery roaming the streets.
Some motorists also believe that the presence of driverless vehicles could increase the cost of motor insurance. 21.9% expect premiums to rise significantly and 12.9% predict a modest increase.
Cost of insurance
But some experts believe that driverless vehicles could cut the cost of motor insurance.
Rod Jones, Head of Car Insurance at uSwitch.com, explains: “We may be years away from driverless cars outnumbering traditional vehicles on British roads, but it’s clear motorists are already questioning the impact they will have on their lives. With human error accounting for around 90% of road accidents, the potential safety benefits of driverless cars are significant and they should have a positive impact on car insurance premiums”.
This, of course, depends on who is held responsible for any collisions.
Mr Jones added: “Confusion is still widespread, and it will be vital for the government and the insurance industry to clarify the issue of liability over the coming months if driverless technology is to receive the widespread public support it deserves.”
However, Volvo Cars has confirmed it will accept full liability if its self-driving models crash in autonomous mode.
UK should lead the way
The government is championing driverless vehicles as they could benefit the economy.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “To boost productivity Britain will need to capitalise on new technologies like driverless vehicles, securing high skilled jobs for those who want to work hard and get on, and contributing to a more prosperous future for the whole of the country.”
He added: “Our world beating automotive industry, strengths in innovation and light touch regulatory approach to testing driverless technology combine to make the UK market competitive and an attractive destination for investors.”
Transport Minister Andrew Jones added: “Driverless cars will bring great benefits to our society and economy – and I want the UK to lead the way in developing this exciting technology. Our code of practice clearly shows that the UK is in the best position when it comes to testing driverless cars and embracing the motoring of the future. We now look forward to working with industry to make this a reality.”
By Stephen Turvil