Tech failure in driverless cars worries UAE users

Only 43 per cent of research participants felt they would be safe in comparison to cars driven by humans

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RTA, Emaar join hands in operating a Smart Vehicle at Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard courtesy rta

A majority of UAE residents polled in a recent survey are worried about potential technical failures in driverless cars, although they welcome the free time such vehicles would bring.

And what would they do with the time? Why they’d use the phone, of course!

Driverless cars currently being trialled in various areas of Dubai, as part of a wider strategy. In April, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced that 25 per cent of all trips in Dubai will be smart and driverless by 2030. The move is part of Dubai’s strategy to become the smartest city in the world and achieve a sustainable economy in the UAE.

By and large, residents are enthusiastic about developments. More than half of those polled (61 per cent) in a recent online study using YouGov’s Omnibus Service said they believe driverless cars will allow everyone to get around easily regardless of their driving ability. About 43 per cent of research participants believe (or perhaps wish) they reduce traffic congestion on roads.

Amazingly, only 43 per cent of research participants felt they would be safe in comparison to cars driven by humans. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) said they were worried about technology failure, such as the car failing to stop at traffic lights, followed by software hacking and other mechanical failures (69 per cent).

Residents said they would welcome the free time, using it to talk on their phone (44 per cent), listen to the radio (39 per cent), talk with other passengers (37 per cent) and grab 40 winks (24 per cent). 

Public dilemma

“Driverless cars do offer a promising alternative to driving and would reduce the number of road fatalities due to human error,” said YouGov Senior Research Manager Anjali Chhabra. “However, [the] public dilemma related to their security, and how these autonomous vehicles are likely to behave when surrounded by human motorists, leave much room for technology experts and regulators alike to ensure self-driven cars are indeed safe in all situations.” 

So what would today’s residents use automated cars for? To get to work of course (42 per cent)! But not in high-risk situations such as taking a family member or friend in urgent need of medical attention to the hospital (35 per cent) or having children ride to school or other activities alone (33 per cent).

As always, people don’t trust what they don’t know. For more detail, check out the inforgraphic below. 

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Perceptions about driverless cars in the UAE