British motorists are very interested in driver assistance technology, but they have much less time for fully autonomous vehicles. That’s the conclusion of a new study by online car marketplace Car Gurus, which found drivers’ confidence in the technology has been knocked by high-profile accidents and concerns surrounding liability.
The research, which quizzed more than 1,000 drivers, found motorists were evenly split when it comes to autonomous tech. Three in 10 (30 percent) said they were “excited” about the development of driverless cars, while 36 percent said they were concerned and 35 percent declared themselves “neutral” on the issue. Roughly half those quizzed said they thought the technology was too new to trust.
However, driver assistance technology proved much less divisive. Although just 22 percent of respondents said they would like a car that can drive for them, 43 percent said they were either “very interested” or “extremely interested” in cars with automatic emergency braking, which can automatically brake if it detects an impending collision.
Similarly, 36 percent of respondents said they wanted cars with lane-keeping assistance, which helps the driver remain in their lane. Automatic parking systems, which can slot into a parking space with little or no driver input, were also desired by 48 percent of those quizzed.
And respondents were less likely to think self-driving cars would make travel safer compared with the number who thought driver assistance technology would help. Just 29 percent of those questioned said autonomous vehicles would improve safety, but that rose to 68 percent for driver assistance technology.
According to CarGurus, the mistrust of autonomous technology is partly down to recent media coverage. Almost a third (30 percent) of respondents said news coverage of “high-profile” crashes had eroded trust in the vehicles’ capabilities, while the debate surrounding culpability for autonomous car accidents worried 44 percent of those surveyed.
“This year’s Self-Driving Vehicle Sentiment Survey from CarGurus makes clear that autonomous vehicles’ tech offerings need to align with how people want to use them,” said Madison Gross, the director of customer insights at CarGurus. “While there is hesitancy around self-driving technology, how consumers envision themselves using the technology would require full autonomy, which is still a goal that the industry is striving toward. Until then, motorists are looking for driving technology that helps them stay in control, rather than technology that takes total control.”