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Negative vibes for driverless cars

Driverless cars - the road to nowhere

Motorists are struggling to see the benefits of autonomous vehicles, according to a new study.

In the research for Continental Tyres, the top six issues brought up by drivers were negative.

When asked about what benefits will be delivered, the second most popular response was ‘none’ as more than a third of respondents could not identify any advantage that would follow future advances.

Motorists are three times as likely (44 per cent) to be scared of driverless cars due to the loss of personal control than they are likely to see the positive opportunities.

Researchers spoke to 2,000 motorists for Continental Tyres, as part of its Vision Zero initiative – a commitment to reduce traffic fatalities worldwide.

Technological assault

The top views about driverless cars are that people are becoming too lazy and reliant on technology (37 per cent), and there are too many risks associated with technology, such as being hacked (36 per cent).

On a positive note, people were able to see a time when driverless vehicles would free up their time and increase the mobility of those who do not drive presently.

“Drivers have to contend with immediate real world issues like congestion, the cost of motoring and environmental impact, and in some instances technologies being developed now are not being identified as a solution for those issues – yet they absolutely are,” said Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tyres.

“Future advances will transform motoring and technology businesses like ours need to explain how present challenges will be reduced or eliminated – like congestion, costs and environmental impact.

“The message from motorists is clear – talk less about ‘tomorrow’s world’ and more about real world benefits.”

Safer roads

When asked what issues should be prioritised by automotive and technology companies, half of road users agreed it should be improved road safety.

This was followed by almost 50 per cent of people saying more economical vehicles using existing and new fuels, while 47 per cent wanted less traffic on the roads.

Mark Griffiths continued: “It is the job of automotive technology manufacturers, like Continental, to inform drivers the immediate and near future gains from the exciting work being done. In the past the benefits from some advances have been self-evident, such as tyre pressure monitoring systems or anti-lock brakes.

“Road users today see safety as a top priority, and we strive to raise awareness about the importance of fundamental issues, such as tyre safety and tread depth.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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