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Major survey reveals how we’re expecting autonomous cars on our roads in 11 years

A significant number of Irish people expect to see autonomous vehicles on our roads over the next decade or so (11 years to be precise), according to a new survey.

And more than a quarter (27pc) said they’d consider buying one.

Nearly half (44pc) believe ‘driverless vehicles’ will mean fewer accidents, but a significant 25pc feel there will be more crashes.

The findings emerge from research conducted by Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

They also show how 28pc expect to be able to access autonomous vehicles much the same as they currently do trains and buses.

Even though a hire-car company conducted the research, it is still surprising to find that 15pc of those who responded to the survey believe the main access to driverless cars will be through rental. At the same time, 27pc say they intend buying one.

The Enterprise research also found that:

  •  28pc of adults believe autonomous vehicles will completely replace conventional cars.
  •  56pc of drivers said that even if they buy one, they will also hold on to a conventional car. Main reasons for that include ‘missing driving too much’ (29pc), wanting to be in control (29pc) and preferring to drive their families etc (19pc).

The report says the ‘feeling among Irish adults’ is that it will take another 11 years (no I don’t understand why it’s 11 either) before we see driverless cars on the roads.

Potential passengers who believe they would feel comfortable riding in one said it would still take four years from introduction for them to use one (28pc), while nearly (9pc) would be happy to travel from the outset.

A third (33pc) think they will forget how to drive when autonomous cars become the norm.

A quarter (24pc) believe the cars will drive at exactly the same speed, like carriages on a train.

Nearly three-quarters (74pc) believe someone with a driving licence should be aboard. Just 11pc think that children should be able to travel without an adult in the car.

Around half (44pc) stressed they would still keep their eyes on the road. Just a quarter think they will be able to relax, but 17pc expect to be able to work or read. One-in-eight feel they’ll be able to sleep.

More than one-third (36pc) never expect to feel completely comfortable; 56pc said they prefer to be ‘in control’. A quarter (24pc) fear the vehicles could be ‘hacked’, 7pc fear being locked in and 6pc worry they’ll be driven to the wrong destination.

George O’Connor, managing director of Enterprise Rent-A-Car Ireland, says: “The research shows that Irish consumers are generally excited about the planned arrival of autonomous vehicles.

“However, there are many elements that will determine when driverless cars become mainstream including the technology itself, consumer attitudes, affordability and public policy.”

  • Audi has shown two city car concepts at Shanghai Motor Show.
  • And Volkswagen is thinking about an all-electric off-roader as part of its new ID vehicle family, it is reported.

The production version of the ID hatch will launch later this year with many more due to be built on the new MEB platform.