Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) hosted it's 2018 International Road Safety Conference in Dublin Castle on Thursday 3 May.

The theme of the conference was Connected and Autonomous Vehicles or self-driving vehicles as they are more commonly known. Over 150 road safety stakeholders were in attendance on the day.

Delegates were addressed by Ms Liz O Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority and heard presentations from International and National experts from the United Kingdom, USA and the Republic of Ireland:

  • Mr John O'Mahony, Director, Behaviour & Attitudes
  • Dr Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety, University of Leeds
  • Dr John McCarthy, Leader for Intelligent Mobility, Digital Services Ireland, Arup 
  • Dr Edward Jones, Senior Lecturer in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Director Connaught Automotive Research (CAR) Group, NUI Galway
  • Dr Charles Johnson, Technical Director, CAS
  • Dr Andrew Morris, Professor of Human Factors in Transport Safety, Loughborough University
  • Dr Noah Goodall, Research Scientist, Virginia Transportation Research Council
  • Mr David Thomas, Managing Director, Volvo Car Ireland Ltd

At the conference the RSA revealed the results of a national research survey it commissioned into the attitudes of Irish adults towards self-driving cars. The study, which was conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes, was presented at the Conference. The research study found overall awareness of the concept of self-driving cars is high (73%) among Irish adults, rising to 82% of Irish adults in the ABC1 demographic. Meanwhile, 36% of Irish motorists believe self-driving cars will be on Irish roads in 10 years or less.

The research showed that 40% of Irish adults believe self-driving cars are a ‘good idea’ – rising to 54% of those under 25 years old. However, there is still some way to go before Irish people have confidence in self-driving cars as 39% admitted they wouldn’t trust a self-driving car to bring them safely and securely to their destinations.

Despite these misgivings, the main perceived benefit of self-driving cars is primarily associated with easier and safer driving, with 42% of those interested in owning a self-driving car maintaining that they will lead to less road deaths and injuries.

The survey also found that over a quarter (26%) of Irish adults’ express strong interest in owning a self-driving car – something that declines significantly with age – peaking at 41% of those under 25 years old. Over half (53%) of those interested in owning an autonomous car see themselves using the free time created by self-driving to use their phones, read or watch television, while 12% say they would use the time to sleep.

Videos from the various presenters can be found here.