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Drivers see no benefit to automated driving

Continental Tyres' survey shows drivers not getting the right message

Published: August 21, 2017, 2:30 AM
Updated: August 24, 2017, 6:44 AM

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More than a third of drivers see no benefit to automated vehicles, according to a recent survey, and nearly half believe the technology will actually fail to deliver on promises.

The survey of 2,000 current drivers was conducted on behalf of Continental Tyres, a leading tire and technology company that has committed to help reduce traffic fatalities worldwide, as part of its Vision Zero strategy.

It found that the top two issues drivers had with automated driving was that it would make drivers lazier and more reliant on technology than they already are (37% or respondents), and the fear of the computer controlled systems being hacked (36%). Further, more than a third of respondents could not identify any advantage to autonomous driving.

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“The message from motorists is clear – talk less about ‘tomorrow’s world’ and more about real world benefits,” says Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tyres. “Drivers have to contend with immediate real-world issues like congestion, the cost of motoring and environmental impact, and in some instances technologies being developed now are not being identified as a solution for those issues – yet they absolutely are.”

Griffiths says that technology companies such as Continental aren’t explaining how technologies going into autonomous driving don’t just allow drivers to sit back and concede control of a vehicle, but they also help ease congestion (since autonomous cars will maintain speed and gaps more efficiently) and aid with environmental issues (in that cars will drive themselves more efficiently and consistently).

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Half of the surveyed respondents said the top priority for manufacturers should be to improve road safety, followed closely by more economical vehicles using existing and new fuels (just shy of 50%) and reduced traffic on roads (47%).

“It is the job of automotive technology manufacturers, like Continental, to inform drivers the immediate and near future gains from the exciting work being done,” said Griffiths. “In the past, the benefits from some advances have been self-evident, such as tire pressure monitoring systems or anti-lock brakes. Future advances will transform motoring and technology businesses need to explain how present challenges like congestion and environmental impact will be reduced or eliminated.”