Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are on their way. How quickly they arrive and their impact when they get here remains unknown.
A wide body of literature already exists on this impending arrival. Much of it focuses on the technical challenges of delivering this new technology, as well as the readiness of drivers to switch to AVs from conventional vehicles. A number of surveys have already shown many drivers to be reluctant, and concerned about the arrival of driverless cars, even though some are enthusiastic. The challenge is to understand the factors underlying these divergent responses. This is crucial if we are to understand how AVs can find their place on the roads.
In 2015, LSE and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company researched how drivers carry out and experience interactions with others on the road, analysing the unwritten rules many say they follow (The Ripple Effect of Drivers' Behaviour on the Road). This year, LSE and Goodyear have gone further in studying how drivers feel about interacting with AVs on the road.
This research views the road as a “social space.” Drawing on a combination of focus groups – in four European countries with a total of 48 participants – and an online survey covering approximately 12,000 respondents in 11 European countries, the research uncovers a number of rationales behind drivers’ responses to AVs.
The aim is to measure and understand the level of “openness”’ people have towards AVs and, conversely, the situations in which people hope to avoid engaging with these vehicles. The authors argue that a successful introduction of AVs will ultimately depend on understanding and addressing the complex attitudes that define the public’s view of this new technology.
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Impact / Media Coverage
BBC Hereford and Worcester
24 October 2018