Thatcham Research has revealed further insights from its Trust in Automation study – which polled 2,000 motorists in the US and 2,000 in the UK – and found a significant disconnect between attitudes and behaviours on either side of the Atlantic.
American drivers are more likely to a see a benefit to self-driving or autonomous technology than British drivers: 81% versus 73% respectively. However, American and British drivers were aligned in seeing accident reduction through the removal of human error (21%) as the greatest potential benefit.
It follows therefore that American drivers are more enthusiastic for the imminent introduction of cars with limited self-driving technology like Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS); 11% stated they would buy a car with self-driving capability as soon as possible versus just 4% in the UK.
Asking drivers what they would miss most about driving a manually operated car also uncovered some fascinating contrasts in driving behaviours. Although the drivers surveyed were largely in agreement about missing being in control themselves (US 62% and UK 64%), 17% of American motorists said they would miss being able to drive aggressively when they felt it was necessary versus just 6% in the UK, while 19% in the US said they would miss bending the rules of the road compared with only 9% in the UK.
Matthew Avery, chief strategic research officer, Thatcham Research said, “This is an intriguing challenge for system developers. We know that brands are designing Automated systems to follow local human driving patterns, making the car’s driving style more or less assertive as relevant.”
The study also showed older drivers being more sceptical of the benefits of automated controls and how they respond to them, even when it comes to returning them to manual control.