Motorists still keen to drive despite autonomous tech, survey shows
15 December 2017
Author: Sean Keywood
Most British drivers still want to be able to drive themselves, even if self-driving cars become common, according to new research.
A survey commissioned by Mazda, and carried out by Ipsos MORI, found that 71% of people asked said they would still want to take the wheel, even with self-driving technology available, while only 29% actively welcomed the arrival of autonomous vehicles.
Mazda claims that the research validates its approach to the issue, with the company saying autonomous tech should act as a co-pilot, available when needed to avoid accidents, but with the driver still in control of the driving process.
Mazda says the research, which polled 11,008 European adults including 1,002 in the UK, also found no more support for self-driving cars among younger age groups across Europe, as 18-24-year-olds (33%) were no more likely to welcome self-driving cars than 25-34 year olds (36%) or 35-44 year olds (34%).
In the UK, the research found that 62% of respondents said they had driven 'just for fun' and 81% of those who enjoyed driving said it was because it 'gives them independence'.
In addition, 55% stated that driving is about much more than just getting from A to B and 39% agreed that driving is in danger of becoming a 'forgotten pleasure'.
Mazda UK managing director Jeremy Thomson said: "It's heartening to see that so many British drivers still love driving - yes, self-driving cars are coming and yes they have a role to play, but for us, there is nothing quite like the physical pleasure of driving; the quickening of the pulse, the racing of the heart, the open road, the special moments to treasure and share.
"If you look at the car industry in general, we believe that many manufacturers are taking a lot of driving pleasure away from drivers. At Mazda we are fighting against this and it's clear from the research that there is still a huge percentage of drivers who just want to be behind the wheel.
"In a world that questions the act of driving, and devalues the role of the car and the role of the driver through technological changes, we will continue to challenge convention for the love of driving.
"Our aim is a motorised society free of traffic accidents, and we will help achieve this by continuing to advance the safety fundamentals - driving position, pedal layout, visibility and our Active Driving Display - and we will also continuously develop, update and make standard our advanced safety features.
"Additionally, we aim to make the Mazda Co-Pilot Concept, which uses autonomous driving technologies to allow drivers to enjoy driving with peace of mind, standard by 2025."