Brits want a human driver ready to take control in their driverless cars

 
Alex Daniel
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The news comes just over a year after an autonomous Uber car killed a woman in Arizona (Source: Getty)

The majority of Brits are still sceptical about driverless cars ever being allowed to become truly “autonomous”, according to research.


Just one-in-seven people think autonomous vehicles (AVs) should be able to travel without a human occupant ready to take the wheel, according to an Opinium survey.

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The results follow the Department for Transport’s (DfT) announcement last month that advanced trials of driverless vehicles are set to take place on public roads before the end of the year.

They will also come as a blow to government plans to roll out functional self-driving cars onto public roads by 2021, which include scrapping the need for a dedicated driver in the car.


According to the survey of more than 2,000 people carried out for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 77 per cent believe driverless cars should require someone with a driving licence to be in the vehicle when they are in operation.

On average, those surveyed thought AVs would be a common feature on British roads in 11 years, while one in four (28 per cent) said less than five years.

Ben Lawson, vice president of mobility and project development and Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK and Ireland, said: “The research illustrates that British consumers have mixed feelings towards driverless vehicles and when we are likely to see them on our roads.

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“This is hardly surprising, as there are many elements that will determine when driverless cars become mainstream including the technology itself, consumer attitudes, affordability and public policy.”

The news comes just over a year after an autonomous Uber car killed a woman in Arizona, US, temporarily quelling global optimism surrounding the advent of the technology’s use on public roads.