Almost half of motorists believe connected cars improve road safety – and new research backs it up

A study into the attitudes of motorists towards connected cars has revealed almost half now believe they improve road safety, and new research backs it up.

Over 2,000 motorists were surveyed for insurance provider Aviva’s recent Connected Car Report. 49 percent gave “safer roads” as a reason for wanting a vehicle with autonomous features. However, the same percentage (49%) also said they wouldn’t use a driverless car at this point in time.

“As with any new technology, there is some nervousness about driverless cars, but many drivers admit this is because they don’t know enough about them, so any concerns will inevitably wane over time,” explains Paul Heybourne, Head of Digital Innovation Operations at Aviva. “Technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace, so it will be fascinating to see whether consumer adoption will match.”

A primary reason given for wanting driverless technologies was to free up time. More than a quarter (26%) responded they like the idea of being able to do other things in the car instead of driving.

“We’re a nation of car lovers and there’s a clear enthusiasm for technologies which improve the driving experience,” continues Heybourne.

Interestingly, just one in eight drivers said they’d choose a hybrid or electric vehicle for their next purchase. 68 percent still plan on purchasing a petrol or diesel car in spite of the sales ban in the UK and France by 2040.

Meanwhile, Toyota claims it performed independent calculations on accident data from the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA) and determined vehicles fitted with connected car technologies were much safer.

Vehicles equipped with Safety Sense experienced approximately 50 percent less rear-end collisions. Those also equipped with ICS (Intelligent Clearance Sonar) experience an approximately 90% reduction.

“It is only when such safety systems are in widespread use that they can have a real impact on eliminating traffic accidents and fatalities,” says Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe. “That’s why Toyota has decided to launch the democratisation of advanced safety technologies in its cars.”

Safety Sense is a package of technologies which includes lane departure alerts, road sign assistance, pre-collision system, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. ICS uses a clearance sonar to detect obstacles during sudden starts caused by pedal misapplication. When an obstruction is detected, and there is a possibility of a collision, automatic braking is applied.

“High-level driver-assist technologies such as these make driving easier and simpler,” continues Leroy. “They improve the driver’s perception of the traffic environment, their decision-making process and their overall safety skills”

While technology such as the aforementioned from Toyota currently represent semi-autonomous features, these results will further help to boost the confidence in automated technologies improving road safety as we continue on the road to driverless vehicles.

Do you think connected cars will improve road safety? Let us know in the comments.

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