The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that more than half of vehicles sold in the past year offered autonomous technology like collision warning systems with emergency braking.
Over 1.5 million buyers chose to have collision warning systems in their vehicles. Five years ago, 7% of registered vehicles had collision warning. Last year, this number was up to 58%. Other features on the rise include autonomous emergency braking in 39% of vehicles, and blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control in 32%.
SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes said:
“Fully driverless cars are still a long way off from everyday use, but this data shows advanced autonomous technology is already making its way into the majority of new cars. Connected and autonomous cars will transform our society – vastly improving safety and reducing congestion and emissions – and will contribute billions to the economy. The UK is already earning a reputation as a global development hub in this field, thanks to significant industry and government investment and the ability to trial these cars on the roads right now.”
The UK government recently announced that autonomous car testing will begin next year. Google and Audi are already involved. In the UK Renault-Nissan has a vehicle that is reported to be able to travel autonomously on a single highway lane.
Last year, the SMMT released a report stating that autonomous driving could result in 25,000 less “serious” accidents. The report estimated that this could save 2,500 lives per year. Owners will also save money on fuel, insurance, and parking and be able to generate massive savings due to the increased ability to multi-task while on the road.
Although this data is from the UK, the correlation to the U.S. market is obvious and likely even more substantial. Autonomous testing has already been in place in the U.S. for some time. While the government in the UK is just getting on board with legislation allowing testing and options like Tesla’s Summon mode, the U.S. is holding Senate meetings primarily in support of such technology. With Tesla located in California, but marketing throughout the world, the possibilities seem endless. Most automakers are making “world” cars at this point, and with the Apple Car likely being launched worldwide, the rise, support, and acceptance of autonomy at these early stages is key.