Thursday, May 18, 2017

Brits say they’d choose black cabs over self-driving cars as driverless taxis edge closer to reality

THERE seems to be no convincing us Brits that driverless cars are any good despite the millions being ploughed into the technology.

And when it comes to paying for a cab, do we really want to shell out for a robot driver over the traditional human cabbie? New research suggests not.

Brits have shown support for traditional cab drivers over autonomous taxis.

According to a survey of 1,600 motorists by online servicing provider, Servicing Stop, a cab driven by another person would still be favoured by 79 per cent of people, as opposed to one that is controlled by a machine. 

It could be good news for traditional black cabbies in their fight with Uber as the ride-hailing app is actively pursuing driverless setups despite people’s desire to have a driver.

Those questioned did, however, welcome the benefits of autonomous technology, with more than 40 per cent recognising self-driving cars would offer improved mobility for the elderly, disabled and children, while just under a third said they would contribute to a drop in the number of road-traffic accidents. 

Similarly, 15 per cent of motorists believe self-driving cars would give commuters more time to be productive on their journeys.

The findings suggest that while Brits may welcome the introduction of driverless technology as progressing towards a more productive society, the majority of people are still hesitant to choose them as their own method of transport.

Last month, a study found more than two-thirds of motorists said they were reluctant to accept a lift in a driverless car altogether and even feared the technology.

Despite this, firms are still pushing ahead with autonomy with a UK trial between London and Oxford planned for 2019.

All major manufacturers are researching the tech, too, with a mass-produced vehicle likely to be on sale from 2025.

CEO of Servicing Stop, Oly Richmond, suggested the perceived reluctance towards autonomous cabs could be down to people’s fondness of the traditional friendly Taxi driver.

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