Interest in driverless cars has cooled across Europe - except in Britain where a third of consumers would like to own one

Rebecca Smith
Google has been among the firms developing driverless cars
Google has been among the firms developing driverless cars (Source: Getty)

Car and tech firms may be ramping up their efforts to deliver driverless cars to the masses, but interest in the vehicles across Europe is waning.

According to a global automotive study by Deloitte, appetite has cooled among consumers in France, Belgium, Germany and Italy since 2014.

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In Britain however, it was a slightly different story as the one European country where interest for driverless cars has increased in the same period. Even so, only a third of British consumers said they'd be interested in owning a driverless car.

And in the race to deliver driverless cars, Deloitte said challengers within the sector, including new firms and existing tech companies were gaining trust, though traditional car manufacturers currently have the edge; Brits said they trusted these firms the most to bring fully self-driving technology to market.

Brits were more interested than other respondents in advanced automation technology such as adaptive cruise control or lane centring technology - some 59 per cent of people want such tech in their cars, compared to 51 per cent back in 2014.

Despite the fact driverless cars haven't hit the mainstream yet, Deloitte's research of 22,000 people globally, and 1,250 in the UK, indicated consumers were coming to expect the technology within them to be standard. They were less willing to pay for the inclusion of the aforementioned advances than in the last Deloitte study.

On average, consumers were willing to pay £375 for advanced automation technologies, down from £677 last time round.

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And safety capabilities were ranked as the most important individual feature, with consumers in all countries saying they wanted to see vehicle technologies that recognised objects on the road and avoided collision or to inform or safeguard the driver from dangerous driving situations.

Mike Woodward, UK automotive leader at Deloitte, said:

As self-driving technology becomes a reality, automakers will need to demonstrate their commitment to vehicle safety.

While seven in ten of consumers still don’t consider fully self-driving cars to be safe, two thirds are willing to try them if they have an established safety record.

To win their trust, car manufacturers should therefore prioritise developing and showcasing a good track record.

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