Young drivers misunderstand autonomous car technology

Road tot he future - an Audi A7 piloted driving concept completed a 560-mile test drive, much of it

Road tot he future - an Audi A7 piloted driving concept completed a 560-mile test drive, much of it in autonomous mode. - Credit: Audi

Increasing numbers of young people are in favour of autonomous cars – because they think they can get drunk and then be driven home.

Drinking and driving 'legally' is one of the reasons given to the Co-operative Insurance in a survey of attitudes towards self-driving cars among 1,000 17 to 25-year-olds.

Some 22% gave that as a reason to embrace driverless cars, despite the law being clear that a qualified – and sober – driver must always be ready to take control immediately.

Almost a quarter of the young driver sampled (24%) said they could have a snooze – also clearly illegal regardless of whether the car is driving itself or not.

And 28% are looking forward to not having to take the wheel themselves so that they can get other things done, like extra work.

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However, 55% of the overall sample said that driverless technology was not appealing at all, meaning the 37% who are welcoming it are likely to be responsible for all the ridiculous expectations.

Steve Kerrigan, head of telematics at the Co-operative Insurance, said: 'This research has shown that young drivers are unprepared and uninformed about self-driving cars.

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'Driverless cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction and are set to be on the roads in the next few years. It's important that drivers are educated about what they can and can't do in them.'

Sarah-Jane Martin, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said: 'This research shows that a worrying proportion of young people don't have all the facts and are often misinformed over how technology can help protect them.

'The vast majority of road crashes are caused by a mistake or risk taken by a driver so we welcome any technology that can engineer driver error and risk-taking out of the equation.'

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