AFTER years of saying it would never happen, the world of driverless cars is not far from exploding onto our roads - and when it does nothing will be quite the same again.
Some interesting views have come to light in a survey over attitudes to this sea-change in personal transport, many feeling that it will lead to some significant changes in the law.
The survey, from Venson Automotive Solutions revealed 55 per cent of drivers questioned called for a review of road traffic laws in line with the rise of automated vehicles.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders driverless cars could herald serious road accidents falling by more than 25,000, saving 2,500 lives every year as a result of driverless technology by 2030.
However, Venson's survey reveals that only 20 per cent of people understand the true safety benefits of autonomous vehicles, with 53 per cent thinking the SMMT figure would be more like 10,000, saving just 1,000 lives.
When asked who should be liable, in the event of an accident by a driverless car, 22 per cent said the remote vehicle operator, with only 12 per cent saying the driver.
However, almost half, 44 per cent, said it should be a combination of the driver, remote vehicle operator, vehicle manufacturer and the software or hardware developer, highlighting their recognition of the complexities of automated vehicles and liability.
"It's clear that many people aren't aware of the positive impact autonomous vehicles are expected to have on road safety in the UK, despite the fact that 94 per cent of road accidents are caused by human error," said Simon Staton, director of client management at Venson Automotive Solutions.
Highways England believes that 'connected' and autonomous vehicles could be the breakthrough innovation that's needed to achieve the 2040 safety ambition of reducing accidents down to, as close as possible, zero.
The organisation, which is responsible for roads in the UK, added that only 30 per cent of the people it surveyed believed this target achievable, with 38 per cent predicting injuries and fatalities will only halve.
One thing people largely agree on is that existing laws won't be sufficient, once automated vehicles are commonplace.
Only 10 per cent think current laws would suffice, whilst 55 per cent think there should be a review of road traffic laws to control so-called robo cars.