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49% of UAE residents interested in self-driving cars

Nearly half (49%) of all residents in the United Arab Emirates say that they would purchase a self-driving vehicle if they become available over the course of the next five years, according to the latest research from YouGov.

23% are uncertain about owning such a car, with another 23% opposed to the idea.

Men are more likely to want to own an autonomous vehicle in the future, with 53% of men keen on the idea compared to just 42% of women.

Between the different age groups that responded to the survey, 52% of people aged in their 30s were interested in owning a self-driving vehicle, more so than those over 40 (48%) or under 30, with just 47% interested.

53% of working professionals in the UAE are more interested in owning a self-driving vehicle, compared to just 36% of people who do not work.

43% of those responding to the YouGov survey believe that driverless vehicles are safer than those controlled by humans, though 27% believe the exact opposite.

17% believe that they both offered around the same level of safety.

Men were again more likely to believe that autonomous vehicles offered greater safety with 47%, with just 37% of women sharing this opinion.

66% of those unsure about the safety of autonomous vehicles distrust the technology and fear that it could end up failing while on the road, while 64% also doubt the competency of the tech in regard to coping with sudden road movements.

44% do not believe that the cars will cope well with hazard spotting, and the same percentage also fear that pedestrians could be at risk from the vehicles.

In spite of the scepticism over the issue of safety, 48% of respondents believe that their confidence in the vehicles would be improved if they underwent more testing in the real world.

This attitude was more prevalent in women (53%) than men (just 44%).

39% also believe that their faith in the vehicles would be increased if they could test drive one and if they had a greater understanding of the kind of technology that is used for the cars.

However, many of the respondents feel that autonomous vehicles offer a number of important benefits to road users.

42% believe that the vehicles will be more adept at identifying hazards during adverse conditions and in the dark than a human driver, while 40% believe that they will have a quicker reaction time to such hazards.

39% also feel that autonomous vehicles will cut down on road traffic.

YouGov MENA’s research director of data services Zafar Shah says that it is no surprise that public reaction is varied to the adoption of the new technology but that autonomous vehicles are going to be the future for the world of transport.

Final standards and regulations for driverless cars are expected to be issued by the UAE sometime in 2020, making the tech closer to coming to fruition than many people realise, according to Shah.

Car insurance is still likely to be needed for driverless cars, and taking out a basic form of third-party car insurance is a legal requirement in the UAE.