Irish drivers not ready for autonomous

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed the results of a national research survey it commissioned into the attitudes of Irish adults towards self-driving cars.

The study, which was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes, was presented at the RSA’s Annual International Conference.

Overall awareness of the concept of self-driving cars is high (73%) among Irish adults, rising to 82% of Irish adults in the ABC1 demographic. Meanwhile, 36% of Irish motorists believe self-driving cars will be on Irish roads in 10 years or less.

The research showed that 40% of Irish adults believe self-driving cars are a ‘good idea’ – rising to 54% of those under 25 years old.

However, there is still some way to go before Irish people have confidence in self-driving cars as 39% admitted they wouldn’t trust a self-driving car to bring them safely and securely to their destinations.

Despite these misgivings, the main perceived benefit of self-driving cars is primarily associated with easier and safer driving, with 42% of those interested in owning a self-driving car maintaining that they will lead to less road deaths and injuries.

Speaking at the RSA’s conference on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), Liz O’Donnell, chairperson, RSA said, ‘Connected and Automated Vehicle technologies are clocking up significant test miles across the world and have the potential to make a major positive impact on road safety. The transition period to self-driving vehicles needs to be carefully planned and managed in this country as this is likely to be the most challenging part of adopting this technology in Ireland. It is critical that Ireland has the right national regulatory framework in place to ensure the safe roll out of these ‘self-driving’ vehicles across the nation. For example, Irish road traffic laws will need to be updated to adapt to the new and emerging technologies.’