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Drivers still unconvinced about autonomous vehicle safety

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Drivers remain divided over the future of self-driving cars, with just a fifth (22%) saying that they can see the technology becoming the norm on UK roads.

That compares with more than half (52%) of motorists who said they do not expect autonomous cars to become commonplace, while a third (34%) thought they were a bad idea.

IAM RoadSmart – formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) – conducted two pieces of research surveying 1,000 drivers and its 92,000 members.

It found that almost two-thirds (65%) of motorists believe that a human should always be in control of the vehicle and half (53%) think that we should be concentrating on making drivers safer – not just cars.

A third (35%), on the other hand, think that driverless cars are a good initiative for the future and a fifth (20%) think they will help assist everyone to travel and work. However, more than a tenth (12%) brand the idea as irresponsible.

Sarah Sillars, chief executive of IAM RoadSmart, said: “Technological advances that make driving and riding safer for all road users have to be embraced wholeheartedly – but British motorists and our members want the right to drive.”

A third (33%) of motorists surveyed said they would consider using a driverless car, but slightly more (38%) said they would not.

When asked if the Government should subsidise driverless cars like electric cars, only a quarter (26%) said they should.

Sillars said: “Intelligent cars will deliver a step change in road safety by targeting the human errors we make from time-to-time.

“At IAM RoadSmart we believe a well-trained driver and an ever-vigilant car is a win-win scenario for the future.

“This technology will prove to be a major boost for business and keep UK Plc at the very edge of technological advance.”

Motorists were also asked what aspects of autonomous technology they liked and the ability to thwart tailgaters was most appreciated.

An overwhelming 90% liked the idea it could prevent drivers from being able to follow them too closely, and 82% were similarly supportive about technology stopping them from being able to drive too close to the vehicle in front.

The next most popular development, with 81% support, was the idea that overtaking would only be allowed when it is safe, and parallel and reverse parking would be done automatically and accurately for you.

The research comes as the driver training charity, and its commercial subsidiaries IAM Drive and Survive, Professional Driver Services and Driver Retraining Academy, are all rebranded under IAM RoadSmart.

A new logo and website have been developed, and a number of new training products including eco driving, motorway driving, risk management, driving in unfamiliar places and built-in vehicle technology, will be launched.

Sillars said: “Driving can be made so much more enjoyable with just a bit more awareness. This is where IAM RoadSmart comes in.”


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