Stress-free driving from driverless cars will improve the quality of people's lives, says the SMMT

Rebecca Smith
Google has been one of many big firms looking into driverless cars
Google has been one of many big firms looking into driverless cars (Source: Getty)

Driverless cars will be transformative for six out of every 10 people in the UK, according to new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT).

It has carried out a study of 3,641 UK consumers to assess the impact of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), and said the technology will offer freedom to some of society's most disadvantaged.

Automatic braking and parking, as well as a car's ability to self-diagnose faults were cited as aspects most likely to reduce stress, which was the biggest appeal of owning one of these vehicles among all respondents.

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Some 57 per cent of those surveyed said they felt the technology would improve their quality of life, rising to 71 per cent among 17-24-year-olds.

Those with mobility-related disabilities were among those set to benefit the most, as nearly half said a CAV would allow them to pursue hobbies outside of home or go out more often.

The SMMT said adults in this group were nearly three times as likely as the rest of the population to lack a formal qualification and were less likely to be in paid employment.

And with car ownership lower in this group than the average population, the research said CAVs will offer the potential to access education and better paid jobs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said:

The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily.

While fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, this report shows people are already seeing their benefits. The challenge now is to create the conditions that will allow this technology to thrive, given how it will deliver wider societal advantages.

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