A new and exclusive opinion poll carried out by Teletrac Navman has revealed that while many people are excited by the prospect of encountering driverless cars – which may become a reality in the relatively near future – there continues to be considerable scepticism about what the implications of the new technology might be.
We asked people for their thoughts on Facebook as to how they’d respond if they were to look in their rear-view mirror and find that the vehicle behind them had no driver at the wheel. More than 1,200 people responded, and about a third of those – over 400 – said they would be shocked. Another 329 respondents said they would simply be amused by the sight of a driverless car coming up behind them.
However, a sizeable minority of those who responded to the poll – again just over 400 – said they would be either angry or scared at the idea.
There was, as usual with these polls, a lively debate which followed on Teletrac Navman UK Facebook page. Some were highly enthusiastic about autonomous vehicle technology and the potential it could hold for the future:
Some were getting, shall we say, slightly ahead of themselves…
Others weren’t quite so excited about the suggestion that driverless cars could become the norm within the foreseeable future. One participant in the debate was too busy dreading being badgered by yet more technological gadgets:
Another even lamented what this apparent preference for handing such basic tasks over to technology might indicate about modern-day humanity:
Some, meanwhile, were rather more flippant about the whole thing:
Just last month, it was announced that the first trials of autonomous vehicles on UK public roads would take place by the end of this year as part of a joint venture between Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Tata Motors. The first trials of driverless vehicles on British roads will take place in Milton Keynes and Coventry, while a separate consortium intends to trial autonomous cars on motorways by 2019.
However, a recent article from Tim Schwanen – associate professor and director of the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford – warned that the advent of the driverless car could have an adverse effect on Britain’s already overburdened transport infrastructure, bringing even more vehicles on to the road. Prof Schwanen also pointed out that in most cases, drivers would still be needed to intervene should anything go wrong with their autonomous car – so that carefree utopia where we all get to kick back with a relaxing brew while our cars drive themselves to where we need to go seems some way off.