Take my hands off the steering wheel? Not just yet!

Thursday 18 May 2017

  • Autonomous in-car technology is popular with the over 50s
  • Almost half think there will be mobility benefits to fully driverless technology but;
  • Nearly three in five over 50s wouldn’t trust a driverless car – a dip in confidence compared to last year
  • Almost two-thirds foresee a negative impact for employment opportunities  

The vast majority of the 286,000 over 50s who intend to purchase a car in the next 12 months1 cite autonomous safety features such as breaking assistance (72%) and blind spot warning systems (67%) as important.   

And it seems the older generations are early adopters of new technology with almost one in ten (9%) of those looking at a new car purchase saying they intend to buy a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

However, according to research by Saga Car Insurance1 , the over 50s aren’t ready to take their hands off the steering wheel just yet. Although almost half (48%) thought there would be mobility benefits to driverless technology, the survey of almost 10,000 shows that nearly three in five (57%) wouldn’t trust a driverless car compared to under half (49%) who said the same around a year ago2.

With the Government keen on advancing autonomous vehicle technology through investment in testing and infrastructure, it is clear that more needs to be done to reassure the public if they want people to adopt the technology. Opinions from the North East have seen the biggest negative swing with 62% of over 50s there saying they wouldn’t trust a driverless car compared to just 50% less than a year ago. This is closely followed by those in Yorkshire (62% up from 51%) and Wales (63% up from 52%).

There has also been a decline in the number of over 50s who say they would be happy to be a passenger in a driverless vehicle – 21% compared to 23% in 2016. However, men are more likely to let a computer do the driving with almost a quarter (24%) being happy to sit in the passenger seat compared to just 17% of women.

Those surveyed also expressed concern about the impact vehicle autonomy could have on employment opportunities - almost two-thirds (59%) felt driverless cars could leave the likes of taxi drivers and couriers out of a job.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, of the 18% who said they were coming round to the idea of driverless cars - compared to 20% who said the same last year – the only positive shift in opinion comes from popular testing ground London with a quarter (25%) of over 50s in the capital now saying they are less sceptical compared to 23% last year.    

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive of Saga Car Insurance, commented: 

“Whilst it seems car manufacturers have their work cut out in order to convince people to take their hands off the steering wheel, it is encouraging that the over 50s are keen to adopt new technology and that they recognise the potential mobility benefits of driverless vehicles.  

“Driverless cars could be on our roads in less than 10 years so people will understandably want assurances about safety. Equally, the insurance industry has a huge challenge ahead of it to define a framework that delivers clear and simple liability terms. We look forward to meeting this challenge alongside the Government, vehicle manufacturers, regulators and the legal community to continue to provide products that meet peoples’ needs.”  

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Table 1:

I wouldn’t trust a driverless car

April 2017

August 2016

% difference

London

54%

45%

+9%

South East

55%

48%

+7%

South West

57%

50%

+7%

West Midlands

58%

48%

+10%

East Midlands

58%

50%

+8%

North West

59%

50%

+9%

North East

62%

50%

+12%

Yorkshire and the Humber

62%

51%

+11%

East Anglia

56%

47%

+9%

Scotland

55%

52%

+3%

Wales

63%

52%

+11%

 

Table 2:

I was sceptical about driverless cars at first but I’m now coming round to the idea

April 2017

August 2016

% difference

London

25%

23%

+2%

South East

20%

20%

-

South West

18%

19%

-1%

West Midlands

18%

22%

-4%

East Midlands

16%

20%

-4%

North West

17%

19%

-2%

North East

13%

19%

-6%

Yorkshire and the Humber

15%

20%

-5%

East Anglia

18%

22%

-4%

Scotland

20%

21%

-1%

Wales

16%

19%

-3%

 

Table 3:

Which of the following convenience and safety features are important when deciding which car to purchase?

Percentage who said feature was important

Parking assist/parking camera

65%

Parking sensors

80%

Cruise control/adaptive cruise control

46%

Breaking assistance

72%

Blind spot warning system

67%

Keyless entry/start

24%

Hands free boot opening

28%

High-beam assist

38%

Lane departure warning system

35%

Real time traffic information

61%

Tiredness warning sensors

39%

Night vision dashboard camera

30%

Voice recognition

10%

 

1Populus interviewed 9,482 Saga respondents, all aged 50+ online between 18 and 24 April 2017. Data was weighted to be nationally representative. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information www.populus.co.uk

 2Populus interviewed 10,863 Saga respondents, all aged 50+, online between 22 and 30 August 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see www.populus.co.uk

About Saga Car Insurance

  • Saga is the leading specialist insurance provider for people aged 50 and over, offering cover tailored to their needs
  • Saga is accessible via UK based call centres and there are no automated telephone menus
  • Saga Car Insurance is a Which? Recommended provider and also holds a Defaqto 5 star rating
  • Saga Car Insurance offers uninsured driver cover, up to £500 get you home cover, £1,000 of personal belongings cover and vandalism cover
  • For more information, visit www.saga.co.uk/insurance/car-insurance or call 0800 015 0756

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