What do people really think about self-driving cars? Some 74% of the US residents who replied to a survey carried out by audit and consultancy specialist Deloitte last year stated that they did not think this type of vehicle was safe. A more recent survey conducted by TravelZoo/ITB Survey reported that 76% of those polled in Europe and North America said they were not comfortable with the idea of autonomous modes of transport. Over 6,000 consumers in Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Spain and the UK were asked how they felt about future modes of travel, including driverless cars, the hyperloop and supersonic aircraft. It emerged from the research that people in these northern countries are convinced of the benefits of these technologies, without however feeling ready to use them personally. Some 74% of those surveyed agreed that the expected reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, plus also the fact that these new modes of transport will alleviate traffic jams and reduce our dependence on traditional carbon-based fuels, will be good for the environment. Fully 88% also believe that journey times will be cut. Nevertheless, 78% of the people who responded to the enquiry said they were worried about the safety and reliability of vehicles running on the roads without a driver, versus only 55% who expressed similar concern about the hyperloop and supersonic planes. In spite of this, 54% think autonomous vehicles will be the norm by 2030 while a mere 20% foresee general use of unpiloted passenger aircraft within the same timeframe, only 36% can imagine flying machines propelled by alternative fuels and just 31% think the hyperloop will become a widespread form of transport. And will people feel reassured once the technical and regulatory obstacles have been overcome? To make sure this is the case, some specialists in the autonomous vehicle business have decided to take steps to educate the consumer.
By Sophia Qadiri