The Future of Cars: Public opinion lags behind the technology

In a keynote speech today at the ABI’s ‘Future of Motor’ conference, Paul Geddes, Direct Line Group CEO will launch the findings from a series of expert interviews about ‘The Future of Autonomous Vehicles’.

The in-depth interviews, conducted by Britain Thinks, with ten leading experts including Stan Boland, CEO, FiveAI, Sam Chapman Co-Founder of the Floow, Paul Spence, Chief Technologist, McLaren and Lord Tim Clement-Jones, give a stark analysis of the public debate on Autonomous Vehicles.

The experts call on the insurance industry to step up their role in persuading the public of the merits of autonomous vehicles and support the adoption of autonomous vehicles by focussing on:

  • Liability and who will be held at fault should an AV crash
  • Insuring against potential new risks, including cyber-crime
  • Reducing costs for consumers by exploring alternative pricing models

Geddes will say:

“Confronted by this level of change, it is all too tempting to take a Luddite view – believing that it is all hype and things will stay much as they are today.

“There is a clear consensus from the experts that the technology is far advanced and in some cases very close to completion. The real issue is that there is a gap between the technology, the infrastructure and the public buy-in required to make the widespread use of AVs a reality.

“If we're being told the public think this is ‘space age fantasy stuff’ and ‘pie in the sky’ we’ve clearly got a lot more to do from a communications perspective. We should be playing our part in helping the public understand the benefits Autonomous Vehicles can bring to their lives.”

Geddes will go on to challenge the industry to find ways to bring Autonomous Vehicles to and more tangible for the public:

“It’s crucial that the industry adopts a more pro-active mindset. We should become the early warning system to support manufacturers using our frontline understanding of claims trends to flag what we are seeing with accidents, how safety features are being used and whether updates are being applied in real time to help prevent the safety issues of tomorrow.

“Now more than ever there is a need for clear guidance so drivers can understand the true value of advanced safety features, which will help them navigate the transition from semi-autonomous to full autonomy.

“We need to work closely with the car manufacturers to make things simple for consumers and support them to learn what the tech in their cars means for them and their driving habits.”


Notes to editor

Research commissioned by Direct Line Group, carried out by Britain Thinks September – November 2018. Full report will be available on

For more information please contact:

Lisa Tremble
Head of External Affairs
Direct Line Group
Tel: 01651 834 211
Mob: 07795 234 801
Email: [email protected]

Claire Foster
Senior Manager
Direct Line Group
Tel: 0165 183 1672
Mob: 07525 665 504
Email: [email protected]

Direct Line Insurance Group plc

Direct Line Group is headquartered in Bromley. Through its number of well known brands the Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. The Group also provides insurance services for third parties through its partnerships division, Direct Line Group Partnerships. In the commercial sector, the Group's NIG and Direct Line for Business operations offer insurance products for businesses distributed through brokers or direct, respectively.

Click here to view the report.