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Self-driving HGVs may well have the potential to revolutionise freight haulage and make the roads safer but more than half of the public oppose the technology, according to a survey of 2,000 Brits.

The study found 55% of UK adults hate the idea of autonomous freight vehicles and only a sixth (16%) support the idea.

Despite safety being cited by the government as a reason for developing the technology, it was also given as a reason by 70% of respondents for not using self-driving lorries on the roads, along with response times to real-world situations (64%) and job losses (52%).

Furthermore, two in five (44%) people fear that autonomous vehicles would be prone to cyber-attacks or hacking.

Data from the survey revealed that people who are more familiar with ‘generative AI tools’ - such as Chat GPT - are less likely to oppose the introduction of self-driving vehicles, with around two in five (42%) who use such tools regularly being supportive of autonomous lorries.

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Last year, the government set out its plans to legislate for the wider rollout of self-driving vehicles by 2025.

Joe Lipski, UK practice lead at Aimpoint Digital, which conducted the survey, said: “With numerous clients in the freight industry, we’ve witnessed an acceleration of discussions regarding autonomous vehicles over the last decade.

“The momentum is particularly pronounced in the US, where companies have already begun integrating self-driving vehicles into their operations, prompting legislative action such as in California, where a bill mandating the presence of trained human safety operators in heavy-duty autonomous vehicles on public roads is currently being debated.

“The arrival of self-driving freight on a global scale is imminent, but our research shows there’s a long way to go to get the UK public on-side and address their real concerns about the impact of the technology not just in road safety, but on job security.

“Understandably, there are apprehensions, but intriguingly, our research has shown that individuals well-versed in AI are significantly more receptive to the idea. This underscores the importance of AI and automation literacy in paving the way for a seamless transition to a more autonomous future.”