Last week, I sat behind the steering wheel of a car that drove itself at 70mph or so down a French highway through rain and heavy spray – while experiencing a virtual world through a virtual-reality headset.

The surreal experience was part of a test in the Renault Symbioz demo car – a one-off prototype designed to showcase the electric, autonomous and connected technologies the firm hopes to have in production cars by 2023.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been in a self-driving car, but previous outings were at far slower speeds on quiet roads (and without the VR weirdness). Since my ride, several friends and family kept asking one question: was it scary? Well, honestly, it really wasn’t.