A third of respondents said that driverless cars were better for the environment

AXA has published a video on driverless cars after its findings revealed that motorists were confused about the concept.

In its study of 2,000 respondents, more than a quarter (27%) of UK residents believe that driverless cars will improve road safety, while 90% of accidents being caused by human error.

The animated new video “Driverless Cars: The five levels of Autonomy” explains different autonomous technology such as driver assistance, cruise control and partial automation such as self-parking.

AXA’s research follows the Euro NCAP and Thatcham study which warned that technology designed to assist drivers is being misinterpreted as autonomous with 71% believing that these vehicles were already available on the market.

David Williams, technical director at AXA UK, said: Driverless cars will revolutionise transport for the better, making our roads safer but also creating mobility solutions for people who are unable to drive.

“It is not surprising however, that new technology can be confusing and even lead to scepticism. What is clear, is that we need to educate motorists on the benefits of autonomous vehicles because consumer trust will be vital to their success.”

Defining “driverless”

Although AXA acknowledged that there is no perfect definition of “driverless car,” only a third chose the correct level which was fully autonomous, “a vehicle that can make informed decisions and control itself and does not require a driver to take control in any situation as it is able to adapt to its surroundings.”

One in ten said it was a vehicle that had some form of autonomous technology such as steering or braking control.

Autonomous technology such as cruise control, lane assist, and self-parking is already available for some vehicles.

Meanwhile more than a quarter of respondents said they were unaware of cruise control and three quarters said they never used it.

Improved road safety

AXA found that a third of respondents said that driverless cars were better for the environment and a quarter said that it would improve safety for pedestrians.

More than half (61%) said that they thought that cruise control had already improved road safety, while 82% said this of lane assist and 71% for parking assist.

The majority (84%) said they thought autonomous emergency braking (AEB), which the EU is calling to be installed in all new vehicles as standard, will also improve safety on our roads.

Earlier this week the DRIVEN consortium announced that it would begin trialling autonomous vehicle mapping will be tested in London in the next few weeks, AXA XL is one of the firms to insure the trial.