New research has revealed that half of British drivers are unwilling to be a passenger in a driverless car, despite the potential positive impact on car insurance premiums, uSwitch.com has said.
In a poll of almost 1,000 UK adults, the online and telephone comparison and switching service, found that 48% of respondents were reluctant to sit in the passenger-side of an autonomous car due to 'deep concerns over road safety with no one behind the wheel'.
Four in ten (43%) said they did not trust an autonomous car to drive safely, believing it would jeopardise the welfare of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
However, Rod Jones, head of car insurance at uSwitch.com, argued that it would be years before driverless cars starts to outnumber traditional vehicles on British roads, although it was clear that motorists were already questioning the impact on their lives.
He said the potential safety benefits of driverless cars were 'significant and should have as positive impact on car insurance premiums'.
'If a vehicle is being driven automatically, and not by the person in the car, the driver's level of experience on the road becomes less relevant to how an insurance premium is calculated,' he told The Actuary.
'With human error accounting for around 90% of road accidents, the potential safety benefits of driverless cars mean that the way insurance premiums are calculated may change.'
The UK government announced last year that driverless cars would be allowed on public roads from January this year. Trials will begin in Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes and the London borough of Greenwich.
Last year, a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills review examined the feasibility of automated vehicle technology, looking at the type of insurance and regulations other countries have put in place.
Trials are already under way in the US, Japan, Sweden.