Science + Tech

Will Self-Drive Technology Ever Catch on in the UK?

Google StreetView CarThey’ve gained a lot of positive press across the globe recently, but a recent survey by UK-based company Motorpoint suggests that vehicles such as Google’s self-driving car would be met with caution from the auto-buying public.

Motorpoint polled 2,000 people in their survey, with 58 per cent saying they were uncomfortable with leaving their safety when behind the wheel to a computer. The other 42 per cent would be happy enough to relax, however, and let the car do all the work.

Google’s self-driving car is based on a modified Toyota Prius, an Audi TT, and a Lexus RX450h, with laser-guided systems, sensors and other technology (including Google Street View) that determines the position of other cars on the road and more.

The company has recently released a video that shows a blind man, Steve Mahan, using the technology to get to his local shops. The car takes him to pick up his dry cleaning, buy food and more, returning him safely home when he’s completed his errands.

There’s no doubt that this technology would be hugely beneficial for the partially-sighted, disabled and people that have little confidence behind the wheel. Google, however, has announced no plans to commercialise their technology, so you won’t find it next to Peugeot 107 prices online any time soon. Motorpoint’s survey shows that, if released, people may be slow to take it to their hearts…

David Shelton, managing director of Motorpoint, says, “It seems that people still love the thrill of the drive, and in this sunny weather there isn’t much that beats a winding country road.” He may have a point, but that hasn’t stopped other companies from experimenting with self-driving technology in their cars.

General Motors’ director of electrical and controls integrated research has recently claimed that they will unleash a self-driving car onto the marketplace within the next decade. They’re already experimenting with semi-autonomous technology – ‘Super Cruise’, which is being fine-tuned in their Cadillac division, is apparently capable of centering a car on a motorway lane and more.

But as David Shelton points out – with the support of the data from his survey – people may not want a computer to control their every move. What’s the point of learning to drive if you can’t take your car for a spin one Sunday afternoon and explore the local area? Countless movies have portrayed a future where cars are entirely autonomous, such as Minority Report, Total Recall, I, Robot and many more. But is it a future that people actually want?

While the technology is incredible, and Google must be applauded for its work, the market still seems to be reluctant to embrace the idea of a car ferrying them around with little input. Whatever people may think, you’ll never hear a complaint from Mr. Mahan. Google’s self-driving car has given him the independence he’s been craving for years.


About the author: Darrell Bird writes for, the UK’s leading free car price comparison search system that can provide incredible discounts on new car prices. They can also provide amazing Peugeot 107 prices as well as phenomenal deals on a range of models, vans and other contract hire solutions.

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