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Three in four Brits wouldn't feel safe in a driverless car

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2-min read
Close-up of bumper of self-driving car, with HESAI 40 channel Lidar sensor visible. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Sipa USA)
Close-up of bumper of self-driving car, with HESAI 40 channel Lidar sensor visible. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Sipa USA

The first driverless car could hit the UK's roads as early as this year — but the majority of Brits wouldn't feel safe in one or trust it with their kids.

The British government last year announced driverless cars could be legal on UK roads as early as late 2021, while Apple (AAPL) is already working on a driverless car set to debut in 2024.

But despite the likelihood of an influx of companies entering this market in the next few years, three quarters (73%) of the UK public wouldn't feel safe in a driverless car, a survey of 2,000 by Vanarama found.

(Vanarama)
Infographic: Vanarama

What's more, despite driverless cars predicted to be commonplace on UK roads by 2030, a third of Brits said they will never trust a driverless car — warning signs for the future chances of wide scale adoption by the public.

READ MORE: Uber ditches driverless car dream

Meanwhile, two thirds (67%) said they would be prepared to trust a driverless car depending on how long they had been on the road, with the most common answer being one to four years. However, 15% of people said it would take a decade before they felt confident in driverless cars.

(Vanarama)
Infographic: Vanarama

Nine in 10 (89%) drivers said they wouldn't trust a driverless car for the time being as they “don't believe that UK roads are ready for [them].”

When asked if they would feel comfortable drinking alcohol before or while using a driverless car — something that has been speculated about being allowed by law — four in five (83%) said they would not.

Nine in 10 (87%) people said they would never allow their children to be on a driverless car alone — such as trusting one with the school run.

(Vanarama)
Infographic: Vanarama

Despite the promise of the technology within driverless cars being able to think faster than their human occupants and spot possible danger within a microsecond, motorists still aren't sold, with four in five (79%) believing they could spot a hazard faster.

Because of this, an overwhelming 95% of motorists believe there should be an option for someone to take manual control of the driverless car — although one in 10 (9%) think this should only be allowed in emergencies.

(Vanarama)
Infographic: Vanarama

Brits also said they wouldn't trust their self-driving vehicle to hit speeds exceeding 30mph, with just 17% being happy for their driverless car to take them on the motorway and reach speeds of up to 70mph.

WATCH: Microsoft and GM’s Cruise partnering on self-driving cars