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Study finds UK drivers remain unconvinced by shift towards driverless cars

Updated: May 27

Despite significant advances in autonomous vehicle technology, a substantial number of UK drivers remain unconvinced about the shift towards driverless cars, a study has found.

A recent survey by Compare the Market indicates a strong resistance, with 27.7 million drivers expressing reluctance to embrace fully automated vehicles.

The survey highlights a stark division in attitudes across different age groups and regions. Younger drivers aged 17 to 24 show more openness, with only 16% opposed to the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In contrast, over half of the older demographic, those aged 55 and above, are distinctly against them, highlighting a generational divide in technological trust.

Regionally, Birmingham emerges as the most AV-friendly city, with 24% of drivers ready to adopt this technology once it becomes mainstream. Conversely, Plymouth shows the least enthusiasm, where a significant 80% of drivers are unwilling to consider purchasing an AV.

The principal allure of driverless cars, according to nearly half of the survey's participants, is the reduced potential for human error. However, this is counterbalanced by significant concerns, with 43% of Brits worried about the cybersecurity risks, notably the fear of these vehicles being hacked.

The survey also ventures into the specifics of public fears, revealing that a majority are uneasy about relinquishing control to technology. Concerns range from technological malfunctions to the broader implications for road safety, given the current lack of trust in the technology's ability to perceive and react to hazards effectively.

The forthcoming years promise to be pivotal, as the UK Government aims to roll out self-driving cars by 2026. Yet, the public's apprehension and the broad spectrum of opinions highlighted in this survey suggest a challenging road ahead for policymakers and manufacturers alike.

Julie Daniels, Compare the Market, said: “Fully driverless cars could have a positive impact on our lives in a variety of ways, however, as our survey has shown, there is still some uncertainty about how secure this technology might be. 

“When thinking about insuring a vehicle of this type, drivers must make sure they are properly covered as per the most up-to-date regulations. With the fast-moving advancements in this technology, there are likely to be additions to these regulations and the parameters in which drivers are covered by insurance providers.

“Exactly what the future will look like for driverless cars isn’t quite known yet, but no matter if you’re hands-free or not, making sure you’re appropriately covered is a top priority.” 


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