More than four in ten Belgians (42%) consider loss of freedom as the main disadvantage of the driverless car. This is per a survey by the Belgian Institute for Road Safety published today (Friday). This fear is shared more by the over 55s (53%) than it is amongst younger drivers (29%). Moreover, almost two in three people are already convinced that Belgian car fleets will one day be made up, in the main, by entirely driverless cars.
A driverless car is capable of moving without driver intervention. The degree of autonomy varies from level 0 (full driver control) to level 5, which does not even require an individual to be present behind the wheel. The first entirely driverless cars will appear from 2020 and may become the majority vehicles in traffic from 2035.
The results indicate that road safety is considered as the main benefit of the driverless car. Nearly 25% of Belgians feel that such a car will be involved in accidents less frequently. One in five people questioned cite the fact that driving in a more relaxed manner is a further advantage.
Beyond the loss of freedom, 19% of those surveyed also worry about the “ethical choice” of the driverless car, namely that it will make its own indiscriminate choice between numerous potential victims, during the inevitable accident.
Moreover, one in two individuals consider that the car manufacturer is liable in the event of an accident. On the contrary, in a separate survey one in three Belgians questioned believe that the car owner should be deeemed to be in the wrong and held liable in such circumstances.
The Minister for Transport, François Bellot (MR) says, “The driverless car still seems, for some, to fall within the realms of science fiction. However, we must not forget what is at stake: less accidents, less injuries and less loss of human life.” He goes on, “This will be the greatest advancement in road safety in recent years.”