Motorists are horrified by the idea of driverless cars
by Helen Jackson |
posted 11 April 2019
Motorists are less enthusiastic than ever about the idea of driverless cars - with more than half of drivers saying the idea “horrifies” them. This is according to newly released figures online motor retail specialist BuyaCar.co.uk that show motorists are now more fearful and sceptical about computer-controlled driving than they were just two years ago.
They have tracked consumer attitudes to the concept of autonomous vehicles since April 2017. The latest findings will worry transport policymakers who are determined to see driverless cars introduced onto the UK's roads as soon as possible.
In February the Department for Transport announced that it wanted to see driverless cars start to be introduced as early as 2021 - but it appears that scepticism, fear and mistrust of driverless cars has increased since April 2017.
"There seems to be a gap emerging between the enthusiasm of transport policy planners toward autonomous vehicles and the willingness of today's motorists to accept them,” says BuyaCar.co.uk Managing Director, Austin Collins. "Despite the constant flow of headlines about driverless cars arriving in just a few years, our analysis of the views of motorists shows enthusiasm waning and fears growing.”
In April 2017 almost one in five motorists thought they 'definitely' or 'probably' would own a driverless car one day. This month that figure has slumped to 13%, despite frequent publicity around government plans to encourage take-up of driverless cars in the next few years. And in a sign of hardening attitudes, the number of people declaring that they 'definitely will not' own a driverless car at any point has risen from 38% to 42%.
Over the past two years, fear of not being in control of a vehicle has risen from 55% to 62%. Concerns over poor quality road markings leading to confusion for sophisticated visual recognition systems are also on the increase, with a rise from 24% to 29% of motorists mentioning it as a factor.
But overall, a general sense of mistrust appears to be building, with 44% of drivers now saying they 'just don't trust the idea of a driverless car', compared with 34% in April 2017.
“If driver concerns about their introduction continue to mount,” concludes Collins, “it’s possible to imagine it becoming a problem for transport policy makers or even a political issue.”