Collisions scare Brits off driverless cars

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Collisions involving driverless cars have caused two thirds of drivers in the UK wary of autonomous cars, according to new research.

uSwitch.com, which carried out a survey on the subject has also found that fears over the safety of the new technology has led to almost half (49%) of people to refuse to be a passenger in a driverless car. The comparison site has looked into attitudes towards cars run by computers following a number of crashes involved them. The accidents took place during driverless car trials launched by the Government.

In addition, and despite assurances from manufacturers that the computer systems powering driverless cars are secure, 45% are worried the software could be vulnerable to data breaches and that their personal data could be compromised.

Fears of adding to the ever-increasing cost of car insurance are also threatening to put the brakes on plans. Two fifths (41%) believe their insurance premiums could skyrocket if the technology is introduced on public roads, even if they do not own an autonomous vehicle themselves. Just 15% believe their premiums could drop, despite claims the technology could eliminate driving incidents caused by human error.

Rod Jones, an insurance expert at uSwitch.com, said: “While the Government is motoring ahead with its driverless car plans, these could be put into reverse gear if consumers’ concerns aren’t addressed. Whether it’s confronting Google car collisions or clarifying confusion around liability in the event of a crash, cautious consumers have a number of worries.

“With human error accounting for around 90% of road accidents, the potential safety benefits of driverless cars are significant. But, if Britain is to become the world leader in driverless car technology, the Government, manufacturers and the insurance industry must address consumers’ concerns head on.”

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Marek Handzel

Marek Handzel is the editor of Claims Magazine. Marek welcomes articles, letters, or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing marek.handzel@barkerbrooks.co.uk