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Not too long ago we asked you guys to tell us exactly what you thought about the prospect of driverless cars on UK roads.
Over 900 of you completed our quick survey, and below you can see the results in full…
Companies like Google are currently working hard on driverless car technology, and recently stated that such vehicles may actually be safer than traditional cars – but does that mean drivers will welcome driverless cars onto the roads with open arms, or does it just add to the skepticism of UK motorists?
First of all, here’s the breakdown of our 911 survey respondents:
Male – 285 (31.4%)
Female – 622 (68.6%)
17 – 24 – 93 (10.2%)
25-35 – 329 (36.1%)
35-45 – 221 (24.3%)
45-55 – 161 (17.7%)
55-65 – 78 (8.6%)
65+ – 29 (3.2%)
Do you hold a valid UK driving licence?
Yes – 664 (73.3%)
No – 242 (26.7%)
Now onto the more interesting part of the survey.
First of all we asked if our respondents were actually aware that companies such as Google were currently working on self-driving cars?
As you can see from these results, the answer was a resounding ‘Yes’.
64% of UK drivers are aware of self-driving car technology, which means the remaining 36% have got a surprise in store for them on the roads soon!
Next up, we asked how UK motorists feel about the development of self-driving cars…
‘Not bothered’ was marginally the most popular answer of the three (39.1%), ahead of ‘Concerned’ (35.1%) and ‘Excited’ (25.8%).
The most striking finding from this question though, is that just a quarter of UK motorists are actually ‘Excited’ about the prospect of self-driving cars – with the remaining 75% of drivers either not bothered about it, or concerned.
For those who answered either ‘Excited’ or ‘Concerned’, we asked them to supply some more information and explain their feelings in more details.
Here’s a sample of what the ‘Excited’ respondents had to say about driverless cars:
“Driving is boring, would love to have a car that did that bit for me!”
“Great move forward – beats public transport, replaces taxis with people who cannot speak english, 24 hours access”
“Hate driving myself; would love to be driven around”
“I love the idea – would make travelling long distances much easier”
“It’s a huge leap in technology”
“If the technology is perfected it will make driving far safer and commutes less stressful.”
“Just a massive step that may reduce accidents etc”
“Can let the car do most of the work”
“Think it’ll be great not to have to drive!”
“Driving is time consuming and also relies on others keeping you safe. self driving cars remove both these issues”
“I am disabled and unable to drive so the potential is very exciting for me”
As we can see, the reasons given for being ‘Excited’ about self-driving cars are very varied – some like the safety aspect, others like to see new technologies in action and others are looking forward to not have to drive to get about.
Here’s a sample of what the ‘Concerned’ respondents had to say about driverless cars:
“I’m worried they would lose control somehow!!”
“No control of where the car is going, may break half way through a journey”
“Just wouldn’t feel safe!”
“I don’t think it’s going to be safe always”
“Wouldn’t feel comfortable in one”
“When the system goes wrong, what will happen to the cars”
“I can’t believe they will be able to take unpredictable behaviour from other drivers and pedestrians into account”
“Given how often computer go wrong I am concerned that something controlling a car (which is a lethal weapon) could go wrong. I’d want to know how they plan to have it fail safely.”
“Who is to blame if something goes wrong in the car and they injure someone?”
“Think there will be more accidents, not less”
“Not comfortable relying on technology for something so important!”
“Not sure if I could trust a car driving me and my kids??? What if it made a mistake!”
In stark contrast to the varied responses from those ‘Excited’ by self-driving cars, those who are ‘Concerned’ are almost unanimously worried about the safety implications of allowing a computer to completely take over their vehicle.
It would seem the manufacturers of driverless cars have a lot more work to do to convince people to trust them.
Perhaps the most important question we asked was: Would you prefer to have a self-driving car instead of your current car?
As you can see, the jury is still well and truly out on self-driving cars…
Less than a third (27.7%) of respondents would prefer to have self-driving car, with almost half (48%) answering with a resounding ‘No’ and the remaining 25% of people still not sure.
Despite the ongoing work of car manufacturers and the likes of Google to improve self-driving car technology, it would appear that – for UK motorists – a lot more needs to be done to convince them of the safety benefits.
Only a relatively small amount of UK drivers are excited by the prospect of driverless cars – the rest are mostly concerned about safety, and as a result would still prefer their own ‘manual’ vehicle over a self-driving car.