Half of Brits think driverless cars are a bad idea

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Survey reveals mistrust of technology involved in autonomous vehicles.

Almost half of Brits think the introduction of driverless cars on UK roads would be a bad idea, according to a new study.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults by consumer website MoneySuperMarket found that some 48 percent were averse to the idea of autonomous vehicles roaming the country’s highways and byways.

Of those, three-quarters (76 percent) said they feared not being in control of their own vehicle, while more than two-thirds (68 percent) said they lacked trust in the technology. And a similar number (also 68 percent) said they were didn’t think the cars would be safe. Mistrust of driverless cars is much more prevalent among women than men, it seems, with some 53 percent of women expressing concern about the technology compared with 42 percent of men.

Driverless cars

But some drivers had concerns about how the technology would be used, rather than how it would work. More than a third (36 percent) said didn’t want driverless cars because they simply didn’t want to stop driving, while 10 percent said they were worried about how the government would use the data collected from driverless and connected vehicles.

Around a quarter of those who opposed driverless cars (28 percent) said they were concerned that the technology would drive up the cost of motoring. Around a third (34 percent) said they thought the cost of MOTs would soar, while 42 percent said they expected the technology to inflate insurance prices.

Woman laying back using smart phone in autonomous self driving car

Tom Flack, the editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, said the results showed that drivers were still concerned about handing over control to computers – even though the systems are designed to be safer than human drivers.

“Although the goal with driverless cars is to create safer roads and stress-free driving, it’s understandable that people are sceptical as full control over their vehicle will be lost,” he said. “There will no doubt be a transitional period where people get used to the new technology on offer but ultimately, we expect it to be a force for good, reducing accidents and bringing down the cost of motoring, including insurance. The ethical debate about who’s responsible in the event of an accident rumbles on and will need to be answered before autonomous vehicles hit the road.

“There are also a number of other positives that will come with the introduction of driverless cars, from having your vehicle act as a portable power generator, right through to driving tests eventually becoming redundant.”

Delivery driver sitting inside self driving van

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