Mazda research carried out by Ipsos MORI reveals that the joy of driving is alive and well in the UK, with 71 per cent of people surveyed saying they would still want to drive, even with self-driving technology available, whilst only 29 per cent actively welcome the arrival of autonomous vehicles.
Mazda’s view is that autonomous driving technology should act as a co-pilot, available when needed to avoid accidents, but with the driver in control of the driving process allowing the pure exhilaration of driving and the freedom it represents to be experienced by our customers.
The research – which was commissioned as part of Mazda’s Drive Together campaign –polled 11,008 adults across key European markets, including 1,002 in the UK, and reveals that across those countries an average of 66 per cent of drivers wanted to remain behind the wheel even if self-driving cars become widely available.
Interestingly, there is no evidence of greater support for self-driving cars in younger age groups across Europe: for example 18-24 year olds (33 per cent) were no more likely to welcome self-driving cars than 25-34 year olds (36 per cent) or 35-44 year olds (34 per cent).
The research also reveals a significant emotional connection between car and driver as demonstrated by the following statistics: 70 per of drivers questioned in the UK “hope that future generations will continue to have the option to drive cars”, while 62 per cent of respondents stated that they have driven “just for fun” and 81 per cent of those who enjoy driving saying it is because it “gives them independence”.
In addition 55 per cent stated that driving is about much more than just getting from A to B and 39 per cent agree driving is in danger of becoming a “forgotten pleasure”.
Mazda UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson said, “It’s heartening to see that so many British drivers still love driving – yes, self-driving cars are coming and yes they have a role to play, but for us, there is nothing quite like the physical pleasure of driving; the quickening of the pulse, the racing of the heart, the open road, the special moments to treasure and share”.
Adding, “If you look at the car industry in general, we believe that many manufacturers are taking a lot of driving pleasure away from drivers. At Mazda we are fighting against this and it’s clear from the research that there’s still a huge percentage of drivers who just want to be behind the wheel. In a world that questions the act of driving and devalues the role of the car and the role of the driver through technological changes, we will continue to challenge convention for the love of driving”.
“Our aim is a motorised society free of traffic accidents, and we will help achieve this by continuing to advance the safety fundamentals – driving position, pedal layout, visibility and our Active Driving Display, and we will also continuously develop, update and make standard our advanced safety features. Additionally, we aim to make the Mazda Co-Pilot Concept, which uses autonomous driving technologies to allow drivers to enjoy driving with peace of mind, standard by 2025.”
Further findings from the research show that 54 per cent of Europeans questioned have been for a drive “just for fun”, whilst 55 per cent agree driving with family or friends can be a “special experience”, while in Spain, Italy, Sweden and Poland this figure rises to more than six in ten drivers.
Comparisons with other activities are also revealing with 37 per cent preferring driving for fun to computer games, 23 per cent choosing driving compared to a drink in a bar or playing sports, with the latter as high as 37 per cent in the UK.