Wales and South West among most cautious in UK about driverless cars according to a survey for the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
Only 20% of people in Wales and the South West feel comfortable with the idea of travelling in a driverless car, the second lowest level in the UK after Scotland, according to a new opinion poll from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
The poll found that 71% of adults in Wales and the South West are unhappy with the thought of being an occupant in an autonomous vehicle, the highest level in the UK.
People in the South East of England have the most positive view of autonomous systems, with 31% comfortable with the idea of self-driving cars and 59% feeling unhappy about being in a car without a driver behind the wheel.
The survey found that 35% of adults in Wales and the South West thought the UK would never switch to having only driverless cars on the roads, with 65% of people saying they would always prefer to drive themselves rather than use an autonomous vehicle.
The poll results outline the challenges car manufacturers and technology companies face in building public trust in autonomous driving systems, which was dented last year by news of the crash of a driverless Uber vehicle in Arizona killing a pedestrian.
In its report on the survey, “Public Perceptions: Driverless Cars”, the Institution calls for more trials with autonomous vehicles sharing the roads so that people can see the cars in action and have a chance to ride in them.
“Consumer confidence is essential for autonomous technology to succeed, but if anything, that confidence has waned in the last two years. During that time, there have been very few controlled trials on our roads to allow people to experience the vehicles at first hand. As engineers, we remain convinced of the need to explore the potential advantages the technology offers,” said Dr Colin Brown, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
“The Government has plans for trials of self-driving cars on roads in Edinburgh and London by 2021, but we would like to see many more taking place in other locations in the UK.”