Self-driving vehicles “a serious threat to road safety”

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Published on 25 March 2021 by Mike Waters

A new study by IAM RoadSmart has found widespread concerns about self-driving vehicles, with 60% of motorists considering them to be “a serious threat to road safety”. 

Self-driving vehicles are an active area of research, with trials of self-driving trucks having already taken place on the country’s roads, and government projections include up to 40% of new cars sold in the UK having self-driving capabilities within as little as 15 years.  

However, the technology has yet to be perfected and the survey found significant reservations over its use. A statement by IAM RoadSmart noted: “Concerns still remain... around the high cost of research and development, making autonomous vehicles too expensive for some, together with possible malfunctions, data security issues and moral dilemmas as to what the vehicle should be programmed to protect.” 

Commenting, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research Neil Greig said: “Autonomous and automated vehicle technology is becoming an integral part of everyday motoring and, while it does have the capacity to improve road safety, its capabilities must be fully understood to ensure we don’t over-rely on it. Over-reliance on these systems, and a lack of training on how to use them, could have a negative effect, with potentially worrying results for motorists and pedestrians alike. As an ever-increasing number of vehicle systems take on the tasks that drivers used to perform, IAM RoadSmart is calling for an understanding of automated features to be included in the UK driving test.”

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