Brits are still cool on the rise of driverless cars as liability question marks continue to hang over the industry

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

Despite the considerable push by both auto and tech firms to race ahead in progress on driverless cars, many people are still taking time to warm up to the idea.

Some 39 per cent of Brits are ready to embrace the development, according to new data from Direct Line. Its research found that big question marks still loom over liabilities for the industry and uncertainty over who should be responsible should something go awry on the roads. Some 45 per cent of 3,000 people said they thought manufacturers of driverless technology should be liable in an accident.

Read more: Flying taxis and London shuttles: Five of the coolest driverless concepts

There is still scepticism over the pros of driverless vehicles too, with just under a fifth of Brits saying they felt computers would make better decisions than humans, and over half uncertain as they simply enjoy driving. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they'd prefer a car they were in control of most of the time, with tech taking control solely in an emergency.

A third of respondents thought driverless technology would actually make roads safer.

Paul Geddes, chief executive of Direct Line Group, said:

Advances in driverless technology will cause seismic shifts for the motoring and insurance industry, and we need to understand what people’s attitudes, emotions and behaviours to this new technology will be.

Our research illustrates the importance of communicating the benefits on road safety this technology is expected to have, and supporting the public in the transition to driverless technology.

We also understand the importance of educating the public on how to correctly use this technology so that the safety benefits can be realised.

Geddes said his company will initiate conversations with the wider industry to discuss safety concerns and how to best demonstrate the experiential benefits the tech may offer to drivers.

Read more: Volvo teams up with AI firm in race to get driverless cars on sale by 2021

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