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Study suggests fleet investment in driverless cars beneficial – despite public unease

A significant proportion of motorists (30%) are feeling uneasy at the idea of driverless vehicles infiltrating British roads. However, some fleet operators may find that they are able to run more efficiently and more safely if the cars revolutionise motoring in the way prototype trials suggest they will.

According to research conducted by Autoglass, many people feel cars operating without the input of a driver could be dangerous. At the same time, two thirds of respondents (67%) said lingering safety concerns would be the main deterrent when considering a purchase. The unease extends to passengers, who say they would feel uneasy getting a lift in one. This is according to a survey of over 2,000 participants from around the UK.

However, another more recent study conducted by Autoglass, one of which is titled ‘Window to the Future’, suggest driver preconceptions are missing the mark; actually the state-of-the-art safety features look set to save lives and make road accidents a thing of the past – providing the technology is developed properly and not rushed to market.

Meanwhile some safety features are being added to new cars at this very moment. A prime example is the ‘smart’ windscreen, which alerts drivers to traffic hazards ahead by tacking driver eye movement.

As time goes on, the technology is expected to become more sophisticated, with many predicting ‘smart’ windscreens to become an essential driving tool over the coming years, built in to all vehicles sooner or later. The device could also act as an aide in adverse weather conditions.

When asked what sorts of technologies they want to see developed, respondents placed night-vision at the top of their wishlists, suggesting driving in the dark is considered a real hazard to most motorists. Next up was a water repellent windscreen, followed by digital shading to combat glare in winter.
It is thought these new inventions will cause a behavioural change, prompting many drivers to rely on voice control to carry out tasks rather than doing them manually.

But this in itself has become another cause for concern among sceptics – as the current quality of voice activated controls – used in smartphones and other electronic devices – is perceived to be unreliable and inaccurate. Only one in five people use voice control functionality on their smart phones, and a whopping 73% don’t believe in the efficacy of such devices. It seems work needs to be done in this area before the rewards of safer, driverless vehicles can be truly appreciated.


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