Driverless cars unsettle majority

The majority of people (66%) would be uncomfortable travelling in a driverless car at 70mph, according to a new study by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

According to the findings, younger people tend to be more accepting of the technology ― with 45% of 25-36 year olds saying they would be comfortable in a 70mph driverless car, compared to just 13% for 65-74 year olds and eight per cent for the over 75s. Women tended to be more cautious about the technology, with 72% saying they would be uncomfortable compared to 60% for men.

The survey found that 50% of the public think that humans are better drivers than computers/cars, despite the fact that 90% of UK road accidents are the result of driver error.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said, ‘The benefits of driverless technology are huge. Not only could the technology help save hundreds of lives, but there are estimates that the overall UK economic benefit could be as much as £51bn a year due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.

‘The government and manufacturers have big ambitions for the future of driverless cars, but there is still a long way to go in terms of public approval.’

The Institution commissioned ICM Unlimited in July 2017 to ask six questions to 2,053 members of the public regarding driverless cars.