19 February 2015
The Government has confirmed that changes to road regulations and car maintenance checks will be necessary to accommodate driverless cars, but new research published today by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) shows that an even bigger shift will be required in public acceptance of driverless cars.
The IET surveyed 2,023 adults online aged 16-75 to assess current appetite for, and understanding of, driverless vehicles. It found that demand for driverless cars is most likely to come from men and those in London.
But even then public acceptance is not high as the survey shows that just a quarter of men (25 per cent) would definitely consider using a driverless car, while only 16 per cent of women would do so.
In terms of age, over 45s are the least likely to embrace driverless cars (42 per cent of 45-54s and 42 per cent of 55-75s). This is worrying given it is the older generation that stand to benefit more in terms of increased mobility.
The survey shows that younger drivers are the most undecided about driverless cars.
People in London are the most likely to be interested in driverless cars (25 per cent would definitely consider one), compared to 18 per cent in the Midlands.
Hugh Boyes from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “While driverless vehicles have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network there is clearly a lot to do before people are won over.
“The benefits of driverless cars are improved road safety, reduced congestion and lower emissions.
“Wider public acceptance and trust are crucial, particularly for the older generation, who stand to benefit hugely with increased mobility, so the trials starting now must get to grips with the best ways to win over everyone – from car manufacturers to consumers – to the benefits of driverless cars.”