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'Autonomous is OK' - UK drivers

2012-11-30 07:53

NO HANDS - AND NO EYES: One of the first 'proving' tests Google did was to put a blind man in the "driving" seat of its autonomous car.

LONDON, England - A new survey of British drivers shows that car-buyers are positive about the concept of "the autonomous car".

That's the car that will drive itself with the driver becoming simply another passenger on, say, the way to work. Or, eventually, across a continent.

The research, commissioned by Bosch, shows that in addition to the current range of active and passive safety systems fitted to modern cars many people would consider buying an autonomous car.

ROAD TO THE FUTURE

Bosch invests heavily in vehicle safety and driving assistance technologies, making driving safer, less stressful and more fuel-efficient.

The survey, which measured attitudes towards driving and travelling in an autonomous vehicle, also revealed that more than a third of thought autonomous cars would reduce road incidents. Men were more at ease with the concept - 44% thought they would reduce collisions. Only 21% of women agreed.

Although considered science-fiction by some, the autonomous car is a reality. Automakers have since the 1980's been developing fully automatic, self-driving and self-steering vehicle technology. Google, for instance, recently tested  autonomous technologies and brought the concept out into the open.

Despite the fact that the mainstream production of autonomous vehicles may be many years away, the basics of the technology are already in place on many modern cars. Bosch supplies many of the technologies that form the foundation of an autonomous car, including adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning.

In its simplest incarnation, electronic stability control helps to prevent skidding.

Newer technology such as predictive emergency braking provides a faster reaction time i a critical situation. The survey also discovered that motorists were happy with such underlying safety and comfort technologies.

Peter Fouquet, president of Bosch UK, said: “Bosch is developing safety and assistance systems for both high-end and low-priced vehicles to create tangible customer benefits and make driving even more safe, comfortable and cost effective.

“Our research clearly shows consumers have confidence in driver assistance technologies such as drowsiness detection. With each innovation, we move a step closer to the goal of accident-free and fully automated driving.”

Road safety remains a priority, Bosch says. "Stability control has been found to prevent as many as 80% of skidding events and must be fitted to all new cars by law from 2014. It and other advanced technologies can play a significant role in reducing the number of road incidents.

"Be it parents, company-car drivers, fleet managers or even legislators, nobody should underestimate the positive impact that such systems can have."

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