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UK motorists send mixed car-technology messages

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Survey indicates U.K. motorists want better behavior ahead of smarter technology.

U.K. drivers don’t want future car technology to prevent them from breaking the law, but they want to see other road users forced to use systems that prevent illegal activities such as speeding or using a phone.

A survey for Continental Tires reveals the double standard, with more than 60% of drivers saying they would be happy to see other motorists – not them – have the compulsory technology that prevents dangerous driving.

Continental safety expert Mark Griffiths says the researchers, who spoke with 2,000 U.K. motorists, also found drivers believe fewer road accidents and fatalities will result from improving the actions of road users, rather than automotive advances.

“Our research found that motorists are yet to be convinced of the value of greater automation – such as reduced congestion, improved road safety and cleaner motoring,” Griffiths says in a statement.

He says more education is needed: “We recognize it is the responsibility of technology businesses, such as Continental, to communicate the very positive benefits that can be delivered.  Not doing this effectively is undermining people’s trust in automotive technology.”

Griffiths cites autonomous emergency braking, with researchers finding nearly twice as many motorists do not trust the technology as those who do.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they have no trust in driving advances, fearing it would not work or would break down.

The top five views about automated driving: It scares, due to not being in control; people are becoming too reliant on technology and are lazy; there are too many risks, such as hacking, associated with it; missing the experience of driving; and the benefits are exaggerated.

“Not only are motorists wary of new automotive systems, but nearly one in three said they will miss the experience of driving when cars are fully automated,” Griffiths says. “The more that automotive and technology businesses can do to educate road users of the benefits to our everyday lives, and as they begin to experience new vehicle technology, the more people are likely to trust greater automation as they would traditional car features such as seat belts and tires.”

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