Autonomous vehicles to ‘transform the lives of young people’

12.00 | 31 March 2017 |

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will transform the lives of more than 70% of young people, new research has found.

Published yesterday (30 Mar), the study commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders’ (SMMT) concludes that CAVs will offer ‘unprecedented levels of freedom’ to young people whose lives are currently ‘restricted by costly or infrequent public transport, or prohibitively expensive car insurance’.

The SMMT says the report, ‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Revolutionising Mobility in Society’, is the ‘first UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs’.

The survey of more than 3,600 people was carried out to mark SMMT Connected, a one-day conference in London organised to discuss CAVs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, described the benefits of CAVs as ‘life-changing’, adding that the challenge now is to ‘meet this excitement by creating policy to allow this technology to thrive’.

71% of survey respondents aged between 17 and 24 years said this new technology would improve their quality of life. 69% said they feel positive about CAVs, with almost half (49%) saying they would get in one today if they could.

In terms of automated features, automatic braking and parking and a car’s ability to self-diagnose faults were cited as key benefits of CAVs. Reducing the level of stress associated with driving was the biggest attraction of owning a CAV among this age group.

Connected entertainment features such as music and video streaming were also appealing.

Mike Hawes said: “The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily.

“While fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, this report shows young people are already tuning into their benefits – and it’s great to see tomorrow’s new car buyers getting excited about the vehicles they’ll be driving in the future.

“The challenge now is to meet this excitement by creating policy to allow this technology to thrive, given how it will deliver these wider societal advantages.”


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