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London-based study: 4 out of 5 people 'open to' autonomous cars

“Harry”, a prototype driverless pod being trialled in Greenwich

A report compiled by Transport for London has concluded that four-out-of-five people are open to the idea of autonomous vehicles following a survey of “a relatively small and self-selecting sample of people”.

The global centre for innovation in transport and mobility, and Royal Holloway, University of London, revealed that four out of five of the people surveyed (81%) were open to the idea of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the UK’s roads.

The ‘Attitudes to AVs’ report claims to demonstrate that many people feel that AVs would help deliver a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits.

In addition, the level of trust in AVs among the people surveyed was also shown to be fairly high, with 55% of respondents agreeing that they trust an AV and 23% saying they ‘somewhat’ agreed they would trust an AV to deliver them to their destination safely.

Chief Scientist and Research Director, Transportation at TRL, Alan Stevens, conceded, however, that the report had been compiled from the views of “a relatively small and self-selecting sample of people”.

Despite the survey’s limitations, Stevens said that it was “pleasing to see that so many of them were open to using an autonomous vehicle”.

He added: “Of course, there were also concerns expressed around certain parameters of an AV’s operation, namely the security of the software and what data the vehicle would store.

“However, these are issues that we are already beginning to address, with work taking place on various projects and trials.”

Transport for London is at the forefront of smart mobility with a current portfolio of connected and automated vehicle projects in excess of £50m, including projects such as GATEway, MOVE_UK, Driven & Streetwise.

The Attitudes to AVs study was run in conjunction with Royal Holloway as part of a larger project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and took the form of an online survey, which received 233 responses. 

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