Google's Driverless Cars
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two thirds of British motorists are against government plans to introduce driverless cars on British roads by January 2015, a new survey has found.

Research conducted for dash cam manufacturer Smart Witness has found that a majority of respondents are concerned about driverless cars appearing on public roads so soon.

The findings follow an announcement from business secretary Vince Cable last month that a £10 million trial of driverless cars will take place in three cities from 2015 onwards, with vehicles tested on all roads including motorways.

The Smart Witness survey, which quizzed more than 1,000 motorists, found that 66.2 per cent of respondents thought that further checks were needed before allowing these automated machines onto public highways. A total of 69 per cent of those questioned also said they wouldn't want to buy a driverless car, with 43 per cent going as far as to say they'd refuse to travel in one.

SmartWitness Managing Director Simon Marsh commented: "Two thirds of motorists said that the government was premature in allowing driverless cars on UK roads and that more tests were needed to ensure the safety of the new technology.

"Also there were concerns raised about liability and whether these vehicles could be insured because computer error could easily be called into question on any accident involving a driverless car."

Marsh went on to claim: "As a result nearly nine out of ten motorists called for incident cameras to be compulsory in these so-called Robo Cars. There will be serious issues surrounding the insurance on driverless cars unless they use incident cameras that provide court admissible data."

However, dash cams are unlikely to be able to prove blame in the event of an automated car collision as either the automated car is to blame or a driver has taken manual control and caused an accident – neither of which dash cam footage will be able to prove.

Smart Witness has speculated that insurance premiums for driverless cars would spiral as computer error would always be suspected in the event of a crash. However, the alternative to automated cars - human drivers - results in the vast majority of crashes. Should an automated vehicle malfunction, it is also unlikely that an owner would be held liable, unless they had neglected to maintain their car.