First poll suggests Bristol doesn’t like automated cars

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2015 is going to be a big year for automated vehicles. Not only are some of the world’s biggest automakers and tech giants going to be showing off their own driverless cars, but many countries will be trial running the technology in various select areas. The UK is no different, with four separate projects set to take place throughout the year, trialling different aspects of the industry. In Bristol for example, they’ll be gauging public support for piloted cars, by asking them what they think of the cars as they travel around and giving them a go to offer first hand experience.

While those trials aren’t set to take place for a few months however, some surveys have been conducted in the nearby areas and in Bristol at least, the public hasn’t been particularly keen. Conducted by the Rias over-50’s insurance company, the survey polled 750 over-40 drivers in the Bristol area, to see what their thoughts on driverless cars were, pre-test. As it stands, only around 29 per cent would consider using the technology themselves.

With the same survey conducted elsewhere in the country however, the figures were far more favourable, with those in the North West and East Midlands, saying they quite liked the idea. In each of those regions, 43 per cent said that they would be willing to give it a go.

The least interested however, were those from the North East. Also over 40, only 15 per cent said they would like to see how well it works.

Funnily enough though, if the age range was bumped to 60-69, 32 per cent said they were interested, which is a good thing, as the elderly and infirm are some that could benefit the most from the technology.

Maybe giving them one of these to try would ease their mind?

Maybe giving them one of these to try would ease their mind? Source: Audi

Rias managing director Peter Corfield said (via BristolPost): “We live in an ever-changing world and it is absolutely incredible to think that we could be driving around in driverless cars in the next few years.

“It’s fantastic to see that older drivers are embracing this idea and are actually considering the prospect of using a driverless car if they are deemed safe.”

What will be particularly interesting about these survey results, is how they compare to the ones taken at the end of the trial run over the next few months and years. Hopefully, for the sake of those interested in developing the technology further, people will show an increased interest in its capabilities and more of a willingness to give it a try.

Of course the technology is coming either way. It has the potential to help too many people, especially those like the blind, the elderly and those with chronic conditions that make driving impossible. If public opinion doesn’t like the idea, it will mean that it just needs to be handled differently, perhaps with specified zones for piloted cars, or at the very least, a clever marketing campaign.

What do you guys think would help people accept automated cars more?

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.