More than a third expect the introduction of driverless cars to drive up their insurance premiums
More than 40% of consumers say they would not trust a driverless car, while 16% said they were “horrified” by the idea, a survey by consumer advocacy body uSwitch shows.
Just under half (48%) of consumers said they would be unwilling to be a passenger in an autonomous vehicle, while more than a third (35%) expected the introduction of driverless cars to drive up their insurance premiums.
Consumers were also confused over who was liable for the accident.
A quarter (26%) believed the fault lay with the autonomous car manufacturer, while almost a third (30%) believed that joint responsibility lay between the ‘driver’ of the autonomous car and the third party involved in the accident.
Some 18% said they would hold the person at the wheel of the autonomous car accountable for the accident.
The research was carried out online with the uSwitch.com Consumer Opinion Panel in December 2014 using a sample of 953 adults in the UK.
uSwitch.com insurance expert Rod Jones said: “Although driverless cars could soon be joining British roads, the fact they’re unable to cope with human errors shows that there are still kinks that need to be ironed out before the technology becomes widely available.
“The reports of incidents occurring between driverless cars and human drivers reinforce the need for the Government and the insurance industry to clarify the issues of liability and insurance premiums over the coming months. Without this, the public won’t embrace the potential safety benefits of this new technology.”
Last month three Google employees were injured after one of the company’s driverless Lexus cars was involved in a collision with a human-driven vehicle - the first driverless car injury.
The three employees were taken to hospital with minor injuries after a car ran into the back of the driverless Lexus they were in at traffic lights in Mountain View, California.
Google blamed the collision on the human driver of the car that ran into its driverless vehicle.
Google’s driverless car head Chris Urmson said that of the 14 accidents that had occurred in the last six years of testing so far, none of them were caused by Google’s driverless cars.
1. When asked ‘Would you trust a car without a driver on public roads?’ 27.5% answered ‘No – I would be concerned about the safety of other drivers’ and 15.8% answered ‘No – I would be concerned about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists’ 27.5% + 15.8% = 43%
2. When asked ‘How does it make you feel that autonomous vehicles will soon be on British roads?’ 15.5% answered ‘Horrified – cars should only be driven by humans’
3. When asked ‘How do you think having driverless cars on the road could affect your own insurance premium, if at all?’ 21.9% answered ‘It would go up significantly’, and 12.9% answered ‘It would go up a little bit’ 21.9% + 12.9% = 34.8%
4. When asked ‘In the event of an accident with a driverless car, who do you think would be responsible?’ 26% answered ‘The autonomous manufacturer.’
5. When asked ‘In the event of an accident with a driverless car, who do you think would be responsible?’ 30.1% answered ‘Joint responsibility between the driver sitting at the wheel of the autonomous car and the third party involved.’
6. When asked ‘In the event of an accident with a driverless car, who do you think would be responsible?’ 18.4% answered ‘The driver sitting at the wheel of the autonomous car.’
7. When asked ‘Would you be happy to be a passenger in a driverless car?’ 48.3% answered ‘No.’