Most people reluctant to be a passenger in a driverless car

Posted on 31 May 2016 by Jonny Williamson

More than half of people (55%) would be unlikely to want to be a passenger in a driverless car, according to a recent study by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The UK Government and companies such as Google, Ford and Uber are all championing driverless car technology, but according to this latest public survey much more work is needed to convince the public of the benefits of driverless vehicles.

According to the survey, carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMeche), 55% of the more than 2,ooo people surveyed said they were unlikely to want to be a passenger of a driverless car, and 40% said they were very unlikely to want to be a passenger.

Slightly over a fifth (21%) of the people surveyed said they would be happy to ride in a driverless vehicle.

Would you ride in a driverless car?

Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing, IMechE.
Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing, IMechE.

Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the IMechE, Philippa Oldham, explained: “The benefits of driverless vehicle technology are huge, with estimates that it could be worth as much as £51bn a year to the UK due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.

“Furthermore with 95% of all vehicle accidents being the result of human error, it makes sense to look at how we can use this new technology to help save lives.

“UK Government and industry is increasingly aware of these benefits of driverless technologies, and Government’s pledge in the Queen’s speech to ensure insurance is available to users of driverless cars is encouraging. But clearly there is still a long way to go to increase public confidence in the effectiveness and safety benefits of driverless technology.

Oldham continued: “Many vehicles already feature driverless technology, such as a self-parking functionality and automatic braking, so public perceptions are likely to change over time.

“But if we truly want the UK to become a world leader of driverless vehicle technology we need to get the public on-side and championing the projects like Greenwich’s GATEway Project and the Lutz Pathfinder in Milton Keynes.

“Government and industry must work together not only to better educate and inform the public about driverless car technology but to make sure that they are developing the products that the end users want.”

Don’t forget, UK manufacturers with a great story to tell should make sure to enter this year’s TMMX Awards, brought to you by The Manufacturer and IMechE.

Entry to the Awards closes 30 June, 2016. So be quick. Click here for more information on how to enter.