Half of the UK’s drivers do not trust new driverless technology, with women less likely to trust it than men (men 46% and women 55%). Over 55s (62%) are twice as likely to mistrust it compared to the under 35s (30%).

driverless car with the passenger on the phone

The Opinium survey of 2000 UK drivers, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, a provider of Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance, found that only 8% say they would feel safe travelling in a fully self-driving vehicle (men 10% and women 5%), i.e., a driverless car, and almost half (47%) would want to be able to take over the controls.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) estimates that the connected and autonomous vehicles sector will add £51 billion a year to the UK economy by 2030. In fact, many cars sold in the UK already feature autonomous safety features, including emergency braking and lane assist technologies, and from 2022 the EU wants all new cars to be equipped with in-built breathalysers and driver drowsiness warning systems. In the survey, over a third (37%) of drivers agree that in-built breathalysers are a positive step.

Almost a fifth (18%) also agree that driverless cars are a great invention, because they will allow more sections of society, like the elderly and those with disabilities, to be mobile and independent, yet in this survey only one in ten (14%) say they would consider buying a driverless car in the future (men 17% and women 11%).

Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Office, InsuretheGap.com, said: There are many advantages to driverless vehicles not least because robots don’t get tired, lose concentration or drink alcohol, but for many the disadvantages still clearly outweigh the pros. It appears that there’s a long way to go before drivers will trust this new technology.