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by Tim Beissmann

A new study has shown convincing motorists to support autonomous vehicles may be a major challenge, despite many of the world’s leading car makers promising to launch driverless technology by the end of the decade.

A survey of 1000 adults conducted by ORC International for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies revealed that less than one in five people said they would buy an autonomous car.

Almost 70 per cent said they would not feel safe being the ‘driver’ of a driverless car, while less than a quarter said they would feel confident allowing a loved one to be a passenger in one.

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The study follows comments from Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week, who said he is hopeful of launching a self-driving version of the Model S sedan as early as 2016.

Last month, Nissan said it would be ready with “multiple, commercially viable ‘Autonomous Drive’ vehicles by 2020”, while Audi, General Motors, Toyota and Volvo have also been vocal about their development of driverless technology and their intentions to introduce the technology into production vehicles in the near future.

Google has also been a leading player in the development and real-world testing of driverless cars.

While motorists are hesitant to hand over complete control to vehicles, they are far more accepting of autonomous technologies that provide assistance in potentially dangerous situations.

Almost nine in 10 said they would pay extra to have their car equipped with lane departure warning, three-quarters said forward collision warning with automatic braking was a worthwhile investment, while 70 per cent believed adaptive cruise control was a useful safety and convenience feature.




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