Autonomous cars will increase your salary says new study
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Fears and skepticism surrounding the arrival of autonomous cars are unfounded, a new UK-based report has claimed.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders — which represents the motor industry in the UK — surveyed 3,641 UK consumers and found that the quality of life for the majority of people would improve, mainly the young and those with limited mobility.
But the report also boldly stated that the introduction of driverless cars would improve an individual's opportunity to pursue higher education, meaning a million people could earn an extra £8,509 (NZD$15,000) a year as a direct result.
The focal point of the report - called 'Consumer Attitudes Towards CAVs', short for Connected Autonomous Vehicles - surrounded the social and economic benefits of connected autonomous cars.
The research found that automatic braking and parking systems along with a car's ability to self-diagnose faults were the biggest appeal of owning an autonomous vehicle as they would reduce levels of stress at the wheel.
That's despite many vehicles on sale today already featuring these technologies, with auto-braking and self-parking being common features on the latest models. A raft of new plug-in products have come to market in the last 12 months that diagnose issues with the car before you have to take it to a mechanic, too.
The report concluded that 57 per cent of all people felt the technology would improve their quality of life, rising to 71 per cent among the youngest members of the panel, those aged 17 to 24 years.
It also found that the arrival of self-driving vehicles could greatly benefit six in ten with mobility-related disabilities, with the respondents believing a CAV would give them the opportunity to pursue hobbies outside of home or go out more often.
But the research also optimistically claimed that we could benefit financially, as many of us could find better jobs and improve our salaries thanks to autonomous vehicles.
The survey found that 11 per cent of young people and eight per cent of 25 to 64-year-olds thought that autonomous cars would improve their education choices. How, exactly? We posed the question to the motoring organisation.
Tamzen Isacsson, SMMT director of communications and international, explained: 'For young people, cost is often a significant factor in how and when they travel and how far they can go.
“Our survey found 29 per cent of young people are restricted by the cost of car ownership while 43 per cent said public transport is expensive.
“CAVs will give them freedom to travel longer distances from home, opening up new career and education opportunities.”
The SMMT report went on to claim: “Based on the extrapolation of our survey findings to the overall population of the UK, CAVs can help more than one million people in the UK pursue a university degree.”
As a result, the motoring body said that these individuals would benefit from higher earnings on the back of their qualifications, which they estimated to be worth an additional £8,509 per annum on average 10 years after finishing education.
What other autonomous car studies have been saying
The SMMT's level of optimism is a stark contrast to recent reports focused on autonomous cars.
Earlier this month, a survey of 5,500 motorists by AutoTrader found that just one in five drivers intended to buy a driverless car in the near future.
And a Department for Transport study released in January also estimated that congestion will worsen when fully autonomous cars emerge on the road, predicting it will only improve when 50 to 75 per cent of all cars are driverless - a long way down the line, you'd think.
Commenting on the SMMT's report, Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Consumer trust in automated vehicles remains incredibly low, with just one in four currently trusting the technology. According to our research half of people don’t believe they will make our roads safer.
“It is encouraging to see the Government putting money into creating a comprehensive testing hub to ensure that autonomous vehicles will make our roads safer, as building trust in the technology is key to making driverless cars a reality on our roads.”
Funding for a UK 'cluster of excellence in CAV testing' announced
The SMMT said autonomous cars will benefit the economy by £51 billion (NZD$91 billion) a year by 2030.
Speaking at its Connected Conference on Thursday, chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily.
“While fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, this report shows people are already seeing their benefits.
“The challenge now is to create the conditions that will allow this technology to thrive, given how it will deliver wider societal advantages.”
A big part of this thriving development will come from a £100 million (NZD$180 million) investment from the government, with phase one of the plans revealed by Business Secretary Greg Clark at the same conference in London.
In his speech, he outlined plans to create a 'cluster of excellence in CAV testing' along the M40 corridor between Birmingham and London, including Coventry, Milton Keynes and Oxford.
The programme, which is being match funded by the motor industry to take the total spend up to £200 million (NZD$360 million) over four years, is being launched as a grant through a series of funding competitions. The first competition will allow bids for an initial share of £55 million (NZD$98 million) of the test bed funding.
Mr Clark told conference attendees: “By 2035 the global market for connected and autonomous vehicle technologies is predicted to be worth £63 billion (NZD$112 million).
“Our investment and collaboration with industry to build on our strengths and create a cluster of excellence that will ensure we are at the forefront of its development and perfectly positioned to lead and capitalise on this market.
“The test bed is an example of the Industrial Strategy the Government is committed to delivering.
“At its heart is a world class science, research and innovation base which will continue to offer high-skill, well-paying jobs, ensuring the UK delivers an economy that works for everyone and cement itself as one of the world’s ‘go-to’ destinations for testing driverless car technology, now and in the future.”
- Daily Mail