No hands? No thanks. Aussies not yet ready for driverless cars

WE might love technology - but it turns out Aussies don't exactly trust it enough to had over the car keys to a machine.

A new report said 83 per cent of Australians would still prefer to drive a car manually from time to time - even if they owned a driverless car - while 72 per cent are concerned about the privacy of their data.

A key concern for drivers is the safety and security of the cars themselves, according to the research prepared by IPA, Advisian and UNSW.

Fully automated vehicles aren't new, with cars from companies like Tesla and Google already equipped with fully automated capabilities.

Google's self-driving car already has 2.4 million kilometres in travel.

But the research comes in the wake of issues with Jeep and Telsa automated cars, furthering drivers' concerns.

IPA Chief Executive Brendan Lyon acknowledges the fear Australians feel is real - though able to be overcome.

"The research shows that while there's excitement about AVs, there's also question marks in the community's mind about data, privacy and safety and hesitation about giving up driving at all," he said.

A "middle ground" approach is advocated by advisory firm Advisian, where regulation would be"responsive but follows observed community choices".

"That's why we suggest that Austroads and Infrastructure Australia both focus on engaging stakeholders on the laws and planning changes that may be needed, and good mechanisms to understand how the vehicle fleet changes over time," Zoltan Maklary, a principal of Advisian, said.


As an opportunity to prepare for the potential of the automated driving future, the joint IPA, Advisian and UNSW research team recommends a four step process:

1. Engaging with transport industry partners and road users to benchmark community needs, hesitations and choices on AVs;

2. Developing concurrent Federal and state legislation and regulations to allow AVs to enter Australian roads;

3. Reporting on the number, type and de-identified location of AVs entering the vehicle fleet; and

4. Continually assessing AV uptake in long-term infrastructure, land use and wider strategic planning.

As part of this plan, the report lists education as a key aspect to a broader acceptance and understanding of driverless technology.

News Corp Australia

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