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Trevor Collett | Jul, 29 2014 | 7 Comments

A survey in the US has found while drivers are ‘ready’ for self-driving cars, education and trust issues are still a concern for many.

The survey of 2000 motorists, conducted by Insurance.com, found that the majority are willing to accept a computer as a ‘co-pilot’, but only if they are also in control.

Just over 22 percent of respondents said they were ‘very likely’ to buy an autonomous car, but 24.5 percent said they ‘never’ would.

Kick in an insurance discount of 80 percent however, and those figures change to 37.6 percent for ‘very likely’, and 13.7 percent for ‘never’.

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And an insurance discount of 80 percent is not beyond the realms of possibility, as Insurance.com claims 95 percent of collisions are caused by human error.

The company says autonomous cars can get from one point to another “more safely and efficiently than drivers could ever do by themselves”.

Despite that claim, 61 percent of respondents believed they could make better decisions than the self-driving computer.

More than 76 percent would not trust an autonomous car to drive their children to school, and only 31 percent said they would let the car drive itself ‘whenever possible’.

Data from the National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US for 2011 shows 32,300 deaths from road collisions, with 13,209 of those caused by drunken or distracted driving.

Insurance.com quotes a study by the not-for-profit Eno Centre for Transportation, which found 4.2 million fewer collisions, 21,700 lives saved and $450 billion in economic benefits if 90 percent of cars on the road were autonomous.

The insurance group adds that many semi-autonomous features already fitted to most cars - such as electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes - have already reduced road trauma but their sporadic rollout has not been matched with mass discounts on insurance.

‘Ready or not’, fully-autonomous cars are well and truly in the pipeline with major programs from Google, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and others already well advanced.

MORE: Autonomous news, insurance news

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