A survey carried out by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers/ICM Unlimited found 55 per cent of people would be unlikely to want to be a passenger in a driverless car.

UK Government and companies such as Google, Ford and Uber are all championing driverless car technology, but according to this latest public survey much more work is needed to convince the public of the benefits of driverless vehicles.

According to the survey, carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 55 per cent of the 2002 people surveyed said they were unlikely to want to be a passenger of a driverless car, 40 per cent said they were very unlikely to want to be a passenger. Just 21 per cent of the people surveyed said they would be happy to ride in a driverless vehicle.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The benefits of driverless vehicle technology are huge, with estimates that it could be worth as much as £51 billion a year to the UK due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade. Furthermore with 95 per cent of all vehicle accidents being the result of human error, it makes sense to look at how we can use this new technology to help save lives.

“UK Government and industry is increasingly aware of these benefits of driverless technologies, and Government’s pledge in the Queen’s speech to ensure insurance is available to users of driverless cars is encouraging. But clearly there is still a long way to go to increase public confidence in the effectiveness and safety benefits of driverless technology.

“Many vehicles already feature driverless technology, such as a self-parking functionality and automatic braking, so public perceptions are likely to change over time.”