The British Government’s investment in driverless vehicles is a being criticised after a new survey suggested the majority of the population believe they are unsafe and prone to hacking.
The Times reports a survey by CompareTheMarket.com has found that that almost two thirds of motorists surveyed would not buy a driverless car and almost one third would not pay extra for one. Three quarters are not confident that driverless cars will be safe to use and the risk of being hacked is their biggest worry.
The study also suggests that the public doubts the benefits of the cars and suspects the motives of the industry with two thirds saying that driverless cars would be bad for society, and most were worried about the implications for jobs. More than half thought that carmakers were investing in the technology only out of greed and 60% said that they were “not doing enough” to make the cars safe.
The Times quotes transport analyst Christian Wolmar, who has written a new book on the subject, as saying, “There is no demand for driverless cars, they are not something we need or want. The whole concept that we will end up with shared electric pods that will take us anywhere ignores the day-to-day experience of most people.
“That kind of transport might be all very well for central London but if you live five miles out of Woking you will not have a driverless pod waiting to pick you up. Even if there was one near by your neighbours might have taken it and you will have to wait half an hour for another to pootle along.
“There are so many examples of dead transport ideas because the technology doesn’t work, at least not at the right price, and there is not the infrastructure in place. The government would do much better to invest in basic technology like improving the railways or making buses more efficient than spending on a concept that is completely unproven and I think unworkable.”
The report also says that critics also question how driverless cars would be able to cope with rain, uneven road markings or traffic jams. The basic question of how a driverless car would tell traffic from a line of parked cars has yet to be satisfactorily answered, they say.