While there has been a significant degree of news coverage both of these plans and of pilot schemes for fully autonomous vehicles currently underway in the United States, the 2016 Report on Motoring found that UK drivers are far less bullish when it comes to predictions of when such vehicles will actually appear on our roads.
Less than a quarter (24%) of motorists think that the first driverless cars will be available for consumers to buy before the end of the current decade. A third (34%) expect them to hit the market in the 2020s while a further 14% think such vehicles won’t be available until between 2030 and 2050.
On average, drivers think that 2029 is when driverless cars will first become available in showrooms to buy – and a small minority (6%) think we will never see them on our roads.
The Report also asked motorists when they expect driverless vehicles to outnumber conventional models on our roads: a quarter (25%) say they do not know, while a significant proportion (17%) think this will never happen.
Fewer than one in 10 drivers (8%) think this tipping point will occur before 2030 while half (49%) expect it to take place before 2070.
Nick Walker, RAC Telematics Managing Director, said:
“With the prospect of driverless cars being commonplace some way off it would be wrong to ignore the immediate benefits of the connected car and the ability to offer drivers and fleet managers the ability to optimise their vehicle’s operation, economy and maintenance.
The RAC is at the forefront of developing the technological solutions to work with the multiplicity of motor manufacturers’ software and engine management systems to deliver tangible benefits in terms of safety, convenience and cost savings for business customers and this technology will soon be available for private drivers.”
34% of drivers expect driverless cars will become available for consumers to buy in the 2020s
21% of motorists expect driverless vehicles to outnumber conventional models by 2040