Motorists will “bully” self driving cars, research suggests

Motorists will “bully” self driving cars, research suggests
Combative motorists think they will be able “bully” self-driving cars, a study has found.

Aggressive drivers are looking forward to sharing the road with autonomous cars, as they believe they can cut in front of them easily, research by the London School of Economics and Goodyear suggests.

A study into international social attitudes to self-driving technology found that people in the focus groups who identified themselves as combative drivers said they would take advantage of the inbuilt safety features of driverless cars that will limit their speed and make them more cautious at junctions.

One UK motorist even went as far to say: “I’ll be overtaking all the time because they’ll be sticking to the rules,” said one UK driver.

Another said: “They are going to stop. So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip round.”

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As self-driving cars will be programmed to avoid accidents; they are likely to e cautious. This hesitancy could allow drivers to take advantage of them to gain right of way on the roads, evidence suggests.

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However, others are happy to wait.

More co-operative road users tend to be less open to cars that drive themselves, the study says, but they will be happy to give way to them.

Research say it will be difficult to replicate the interaction between drivers and the unwritten rules of the road such as letting cars out from behind a stopped bus.

The LSE study also polled drivers in 10 other European countries.

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It found that UK drivers are more cautious about autonomous vehicles than their European compatriots.

Some 55 per cent of the 1,450 UK drivers polled said they were uncomfortable driving alongside autonomous cars on the road, compared with an average of 39 per cent from the non-UK nations.

Brits are also more concerned that driverless cars could malfunction, with 83 per cent raising concerns over this compared with 71 per cent from motorists elsewhere.

Self-driving cars could be more common sight on the roads thanks to a bill passed earlier this year.

The modern transport bill will extend compulsory insurance cover to accidents where the car, rather than the driver, is at fault. 

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.