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Public Perceptions: Driverless Cars

Two thirds of people are uncomfortable with the idea of travelling in a driverless car

Car manufacturers and technology companies have been investing heavily in recent years to develop the systems needed to make driverless cars a reality. The UK Government has supported them as it recognises the advantages autonomous vehicles may have in reducing emissions, easing congestion as well as improving safety and mobility.

The Government is keen for the public to experience the technology first-hand and plans trials of fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021, as part of its modern Industrial Strategy. The trials will include an autonomous bus service across the Forth  Bridge from Fife to Edinburgh, and selfdriving taxi services in London.

The success of the technology will depend on whether consumers feel comfortable in adapting and switching to driverless vehicles.

Survey Findings

The main findings from our poll included:

  • 60% of people say they would always prefer to drive themselves rather than use a self-driving vehicle
  • Two thirds of people are uncomfortable with the idea of travelling in a driverless car
  • More people (32%) want driverless cars restricted to 30 mph, up from 27% in 2017
  • A third of men are comfortable about travelling in a driverless vehicle, less than one fifth of women say the same
  • Age is a major factor in attitudes. 42% of people aged between 18 and 24 are happy about being an occupant in a driverless car, compared 11% for those aged 75 and over
  • One in three adults think we will never switch to having only driverless cars on UK roads
  • Scotland, Wales and the South West are more cautious about driverless technology the rest of the UK


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