As a leading data analytics consulting firm, Aimpoint Digital has been closely monitoring the rapid evolution of autonomous vehicles, particularly in the freight industry. The momentum is especially noticeable in the United States, where companies have begun integrating self-driving vehicles into their operations. This has led to legislative action, such as the ongoing debate in California over a bill requiring trained human safety operators in heavy-duty autonomous vehicles on public roads.

However, the conversation is not limited to the US. We sought to understand the British public’s perspective on the potential introduction of autonomous freight in the UK.

The UK’s Perception of Autonomous Freight: Key Findings

Our exclusive survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed significant apprehensions about the introduction of self-driving trucks in the UK. More than half (55%) of UK adults expressed strong reservations about the idea of self-driving freight vehicles on UK roads.

When asked about their concerns, respondents highlighted the following:

  • Safety of other road users (70%)
  • Increased risks to pedestrians (64%)
  • The technology’s inability to respond to real-life driving conditions (64%)
  • Job losses (52%)
  • Lack of regulation surrounding the technology used in autonomous vehicles (45%)
  • Fear of autonomous vehicles being prone to cyber-attacks or hacking (44%)

Additional concerns included environmental issues, legal complications, and the belief that self-driving vehicles would be less effective than driver-operated ones.

Interestingly, our data revealed that individuals familiar with generative AI tools such as Chat GPT were less likely to oppose the introduction of self-driving vehicles. Two in five (42%) Brits who regularly use such tools supported the idea of autonomous trucks on UK roads.

This finding aligns with our recent study on AI usage in the UK, which revealed that only a fifth (20%) of UK adults had utilized generative AI tools. A staggering quarter (28%) of Brits admitted to having never even heard of AI.

The Road Ahead for Autonomous Freight

The global arrival of self-driving freight is inevitable, but our research indicates a significant journey ahead to align the UK public with this technological shift. Their concerns extend beyond road safety to include job security.

While apprehensions are understandable, our research highlights that individuals well-versed in AI are significantly more receptive to the idea. This underscores the importance of AI and automation literacy in facilitating a smooth transition toward a more autonomous future.

At Aimpoint Digital, we believe in the transformative potential of AI and autonomous technologies. We are committed to fostering understanding and acceptance of these advancements, paving the way for a future where technology and human ingenuity coexist and thrive.