65% Still Want to Drive Their Cars
Driverless cars seem to be the thing to talk about this month after numerous companies have announced their intentions with the technology. Volvo recently announced their new program to gather more data on driverless technology by giving members of the public driverless XC90’s to drive around London starting next year. However, the public still aren’t completely on board with the driverless phenomenon yet. IAM RoadSmart (formally the Institute for Advanced Motorists) conducted an independent survey of 1,000 British motorists and a separate poll among its 92,000 members in which it found that 65% of motorists believe the driver should remain in control.
Trust is Essential for the Success of Driverless Cars
It seems that there is still a mistrust of the car industry by many people, more than likely heightened by the emissions scandal last year, people will be staking their lives on driverless cars, and at the moment still want that element of control over their surroundings and their movement. Sarah Sillars OBE, chief executive of IAM RoadSmart said: “Technological advances that make driving and riding safer for all road users have to be embraced whole-heartedly, but British motorists and our members, do want the right to drive.”
A Worrying Future for Car Enthusiasts
Some motorists have questioned whether once driverless cars have been introduced they will be banned from driving an ordinary car. Sillars went on to comment that: “One could see a time when motorists might be restricted to driving on designated roads – and possibly just for pleasure rather than for work or getting from A to B.” this is a fear held by many enthusiasts. It is unlikely that these ideas will come to fruition, just as it will be a long time before the driverless car becomes the norm on the roads. Yet these are questions that require answers before the driver will fully get behind the driverless car.
So What’s the Solution?
It is difficult to come up with a solution to a problem that is a long way off but one that could keep both parties happy (drivers and road safety experts) is a hybrid system. A hybrid system for driverless cars that would allow the driver to take control of the car if and when either the driver needed to or wanted to, whilst allowing the computer systems to continue on as planned, and take control of the vehicle in the event of an accident or mistake by the driver. The computers inside the car will likely have much faster reaction times to incidents than any human, a computer could even predict the incident occurring, and thus prevent it. This kind of system would improve safety on the roads, whilst also allowing drivers to enjoy the act of driving, and have control over the conditions they are in. The results of this survey aren’t necessarily a blow to the driverless movement, more of a wake up call to the car industry, a message saying that if you want us to continue to buy your cars long into the future, they need to improve the level of trust between the company and the driver.
The IAM RoadSmart Survey of Motorists – Results
- 65% thought that a human being should always be in charge of a vehicle
- 20% thought that driverless cars were a ‘good idea’
- 34% thought that driverless cars were a ‘bad idea’
- 22% thought that driverless cars would ‘be the norm on UK roads’
- 52% thought that driverless cars would never be the norm on UK roads
- 16% thought that driverless cars are an ‘exciting prospect’
When told that 95% of accidents were down to ‘human error’ and that there was ‘a strong case for taking driver control out of the equation’:
- 24% agreed with the proposition
- 15% disagreed with the proposition
- 60% said ‘wait and see’
When asked whether they would ‘consider using a driverless car’:
- 32% said yes they would
- 38% said no they would not
- 29% said that they were unsure
In the poll conducted among IAM RoadSmart members:
- 87% thought that once driverless cars are readily available driving should NOT be banned by law
- 92% would welcome automated systems that stopped tailgating