Report

Public Perceptions: Driverless Cars

One in three adults think we will never switch to having only driverless cars on UK roads

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.

Recommendations

  1. We need to see more trials with autonomous vehicles sharing the roads. This will allow people to experience these vehicles in action, validate the technology and increase public confidence. Areas such as business parks, airports, university campuses and potentially small towns could be used as controlled sites for autonomous vehicles.
  2. The Government must accelerate the development of the regulatory framework for testing and use of autonomous cars, insurance liability, tax and revamped Highway Code to ensure clarity for road users in the near and longer term.
  3. The industry and government should continue to collect data to assess driverless cars to show if the technology can deliver the safety, pollution and cost benefits it promises. These data could also be used to influence a shift from individual driver insurance towards insurance for the vehicle.

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