Seven out of ten motorists said they would not feel safe in a car that drives itself, according to a new survey.

While the car industry invests billions into the development of self-driving cars, 70 percent of drivers questioned by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart said they would not feel safe travelling in one.

A further 75 percent expressed some level of disagreement with the statement that the vehicle should “always be in ultimate control,” with 40 percent strongly against it.

“It’s clear from the results of our survey that the motor industry has a big job ahead in convincing drivers of the safety virtues of self-driving vehicles,” said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research. “While on paper they offer significant advantages in eliminating human error from collisions, there is a lot of confusion, misinformation and an over-abundance of terminology which has made the public distrustful of it.”

More than 1,600 visitors to the charity’s website were surveyed.

Other results include:

  • 90 percent of respondents agreed the driver should always be able to take over from a self-driving car should they need to
  • More than 82 per cent either “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” when asked if human drivers should be banned from driving on the roads once fully autonomous vehicles are widely available
  • Two-thirds of respondent said they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about the progress towards a future where the vehicle takes over more and more functions previously controlled by the driver
  • 44 percent of those surveyed said they felt poorly or very poorly informed on autonomous vehicles with only 6 percent feeling very well informed

“There needs to be an industry-standard on the acronyms and product names used, and car companies need to come together, alongside government, to ensure the facts out there are clearer and easy-to-understand,” added Mr Greig.