Self-driving cars have arrived on UK roads, but do we really want them? A new survey suggests we don’t. Motoring experts at Quotezone.co.uk asked 1000 car insurance customers whether they would be keen to buy a self-driving car, and 87% said they wouldn’t.
Last month the UK became the first European country to permit drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel on public roads when the government authorised Ford to turn on its ‘BlueCruise’ system on motorways.
The system allows AI control of acceleration, braking and steering in designated ‘Blue Zones’ that cover 2,300 miles of motorway across England, Scotland and Wales.
However, brand new research reveals that UK motorists don’t want driverless technology because they like the feel of driving a car themselves 44%.
The data suggest that Brits’ love affair with their cars is more than skin deep, with the experience of handling the vehicle themselves being critical to their driving enjoyment.
The other main reason cited for rejecting hands-free technology was the fear that giving up control of their cars would make drivers feel unsafe, 40%.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman has told MPs that “scare stories, particularly in the early stages”, will be part of adapting to the technology.
Asked about the safety of self-driving vehicles by the Commons Transport Select Committee, Mr Norman referred to the inevitable “moral panic” that the British public would need to weather.
Fully self-driving cars are banned on UK roads, but legislation to approve the technology could be only two years away.
Helen Rolph, the car insurance comparison expert at Quotezone.co.uk, believes this latest research shows just how much trust manufacturers of self-driving cars need to build with the public.
She said: “Our research showed a categoric rejection of driverless cars based on safety and driver enjoyment.
“And while Jesse Norman could be right that it is only a matter of time before people get used to giving up control over their safety, drivers don’t want to give up the feeling of driving a car themselves.
“Our results perhaps reflect the speed of change and people’s reluctance to give up something they love doing so soon.
“Legislation to approve the technology could come as early as 2025, making driverless cars a reality in just two years.
“Brits love their cars, and that affection doesn’t just come from sitting back while being taken from place to place.
“We love the feeling of the wheel in our hands, the feedback from the road as we drive and the control of the vehicle as we accelerate, brake and change lanes.
“Safety concerns may be allayed over time as the public begin to trust the technology, but the question is whether drivers will ever get over giving up something they love.”
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