Fleet News

British drivers think self-driving cars will deliver most benefit to the disabled and the elderly

Autonomous car dashboard displays

Vehicles fitted with autonomous technologies will bring most benefit to the personal mobility of the disabled (56%), the visually impaired (42%) and the elderly (30%), a survey suggests.

Improved mobility for everyone was considered to be the primary advantage of autonomous cars, accounting for the sentiment of more than 60% of respondents. This benefit outweighed concerns of the possibility of a malfunction (49%), or not having full control of the car, which for 53% of the interviewees was seen as the biggest safety concern. However, half of those surveyed (51%) felt that a reduction in accidents caused by human error would also be a positive outcome of the new technology, followed by lower stress levels (45%) for drivers.

The survey from Nissan canvassed the views of more than 6,000 people across Europe, including 1,000 from the UK, to create a report of Consumer Attitudes to Autonomous Drive Technologies.

One in three British residents (33%) claimed to be ‘excited’ about the possibility of more self-driving cars on the roads and almost half (45%) said they would be comfortable riding in one. Concerns about an overreliance on technology though, saw 55% of respondents stating they would be ‘uncomfortable’ being driven by the technology.

However, another benefit identified was the ability to do ‘something other than driving’ when in the car. Three in four (76%) Brits admitted to multi-tasking behind the wheel, such as eating (38%) or even illegally texting (11%). Therefore 44% of the surveyed liked the idea of autonomous vehicles taking care of the driving to provide more free or productive time.

Managing director of Nissan GB, Alex Smith, said: “Mass-market autonomous technologies are very much in their infancy, so the vast majority of drivers won’t have had the opportunity to experience life on the road with them. Therefore we’d expect some hesitancies about such a revolutionary change to how we drive our cars – or indeed how our cars drive us.

“However, these results are pleasantly optimistic, particularly with regards identifying the benefits to users who will rely on the technology more, such as the elderly or the impaired. The fact that more than one in seven (13%) buyers are already considering some kind of autonomously-equipped car for their next purchase also demonstrates an enthusiasm for these new innovations.”

Click here for autonomous fleet best practice and procurement insight

Login to comment


  • Fleet Manager - 03/01/2017 12:04

    I think the prospect of self driving cars is exciting. I can understand the hesitancy of some that are worried about being driven by the technology, but presumably they do not fly in aeroplanes! Having landed twice in the last month in fog with the pilot using autopilot to land, it seems a far safer option to be driven by technology on Terra firma.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee