Latest figures show that more than half of cars sold have a collision warning system, while autonomous emergency braking is also popular

More than half of new cars sold last year featured autonomous safety technology, with 1.5 million buyers opting for collision warning systems.

As autonomous cars increasingly become a reality, the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) demonstrate that consumers are starting to embrace semi-autonomous systems.

In the case of collision warning systems, total uptake was 58% of car sales last year, and while 31% of these were fitted as standard, more than a quarter of buyers – 27% - chose to have the system fitted as an option. By contrast, five years ago, collision warning featured on only 7% of cars registered.

Other popular tech includes autonomous emergency braking (fitted in 39% of cars), blind spot monitoring (32%) and adaptive cruise control (32%).

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, 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 news comes as the Government announced in its recent budget that trials of fully autonomous vehicles would occur on UK roads next year.

And manufacturers continue to lead the way. Alongside the well-publicised tests of Google, Audi and others, Renault-Nissan recently confirmed that its popular Qashqai will be able to travel autonomously on a single lane of a highway from next year.

Tesla has also recently introduced its Summon tech to the UK, following a change in legislation. Model S owners can now set their car to park itself in a garage on private land.

A report commissioned by the SMMT last year found that serious accidents could fall by more than 25,000, saving 2500 lives every year by 2030, as a result of driverless vehicle technology. It is estimated that the annual saving to consumers by the end of the next decade could be as high as £40 billion, with motorists able to multi-task while behind the wheel, get to their destinations more quickly and save money on fuel, insurance and parking.

Blog: What is a truly autonomous car?

Our Verdict

Tesla Model S

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Join the debate

Comments
2

28 March 2016

I drive a hgv for a living. The company I work for has a fleet of the new Volvo FH series tractor units, with the lane guidance, anti collision, and blind spot radar systems. They have so many bugs on them it's scary. The dash is constantly coming up with error messages. Yet when you take it to maintenance nothing is found. So these self driving trials are going to be interesting to watch.

28 March 2016

I have a new A4 with traffic assist, adaptive cruise etc and just the opposite experience to smokescreen. Works superbly and makes crawling in motorway roadworks or traffic much more relaxing as the car does the mind numbing, yet tiring, job of constantly adjusting the speed and lane position. I can then switch it off when I get to an empty B road......

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run