UK concerns over driverless lorries

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Nearly half of those questioned wouldn’t feel safe knowing driverless lorries are on the road according to research. 

With the government announcing trials on the M6 in Cumbria, a survey from business intelligence research consultancy Future Thinking found that 43% of respondents would not feel safe on with driverless lorries on the road. 

Twenty-seven percent said they may feel safe if more testing has been done and 22% said they would only feel safe if there was someone in the cab with override capability - less than one-in-ten would feel safe. 

The survey also found that men were twice as likely to agree to feeling safe if driverless lorries were on the road with 13% feeling safe, compared to just 6% of females.

Results by age indicate that the older generations are least likely to agree to feeling safe knowing driverless lorries are on the road – 47% of over 55’s would not feel safe compared to 38% of 18-34 year olds.

As part of the Budget, the government announced that "lorry platooning" trials, in which vehicles form a convoy headed by a driver in the leading lorry, would go ahead with driverless cars being trialled on UK roads by 2017. 

Many motoring organisations have questioned the feasibility of a lorry platooning scheme in the UK.

AA chairman Edmund King noted: "The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits of our motorways than any other motorways in Europe or indeed the world.

"Therefore it's very difficult to have a 44 tonne 10-lorry platoon, because other vehicles need to get past the platoon to enter or exit the road."

Senior director at Future Thinking Lisa Bedwell said: “Consumers are clearly cautious towards the concept of driverless vehicles. Despite being surrounded by technology and the increasingly important role it plays in all our lives, one suspects that people remain wary of its reliability in this instance. In addition there are a number of legal and ethical issues, which will need to be addressed by policy makers and manufacturers to ensure consumers fully understand the implications of driverless vehicles on our roads."

 

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