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Shaun Sadlier's blog - 25 July: Not such a leap of faith

Date: 25 July 2016

Autonomous cars represent potentially the biggest change to driving since the invention of the car itself, a technology that would have sounded like science fiction just a few years ago.

Because of this, it would be fair to expect widespread resistance to this change, but the feedback that we're starting to gather suggests that many drivers will welcome the technology with open arms.

This is encouraging for anyone with an interest in autonomous vehicles. If they are shown to operate effectively on UK roads in a real-world environment through the multiple trials taking place at the moment, enthusiasm could quickly increase further and momentum could build.

Of course, there will remain a core of people who will always want to drive themselves, and that's completely understandable, but this group has the potential to diminish over time. It is also true that we are seeing strong awareness of the potential safety benefits that come when you remove human intervention from the equation.

Fleet manager awareness of emerging car safety equipment like autonomous emergency braking, lane change warning systems, adaptive cruise control, adaptive light control and night vision systems is already high. They can see the benefit, and that's probably because the high end cars of today already incorporate some of these features, supporting driver comfort and safety.

We must be realistic here, it's not going to be a quick transition and it will take years for the make-up of the UK car parc to evolve. It's interesting though that certainly in the business arena, we seem to be a fairly positive, open-minded group which bodes well for future innovation.

Shaun Sadlier is head of consultancy at Arval.