Research has found that 71 per cent of drivers still value driving as important, at a time when autonomous cars seem to be getting ever nearer to becoming mainstream.
The research carried out by Mazda – a firm that prides itself on the driver involvement of its cars – found that less than a third of drivers actively welcomed the introduction of autonomous vehicles.
With self-driving constantly on the agenda at the majority of manufacturers, interestingly Mazda has said it believes in “putting the driver at the heart of everything”, and believes that self-driving aids should only be used to assist with safety and to prevent accidents.
The survey, conducted alongside research firm Ipsos MORI and as part of Mazda’s Drive Together campaign, looked into driver enjoyment. Over 11,000 people participated in the survey across Europe, with 1,002 people taking part in the UK.
Drivers in the UK rated driving enjoyment slightly above their European counterparts, with a 66 per cent average across the continent saying they still wanted to drive themselves in the future, compared with the UK’s 71 per cent.
It also found that age didn’t have a noticeable difference on drivers supporting autonomous cars, while 62 per cent of people in the UK said they have driven “just for fun” and 39 per cent saying that it was a “forgotten pleasure”.
Jeremy Thompson, Mazda UK’s managing director, said: “It’s heartening to see that so many British drivers still love driving – yes, self-driving cars are coming and yes, they have a role to play, but for us, there is nothing quite like the physical pleasure of driving.
“At Mazda we believe in putting the driver at the heart of everything we do and if you look at the industry in general, we believe that many manufacturers are taking a lot of driving pleasure away from drivers. We’re fighting against this and it’s clear from the research that there’s still a huge percentage of drivers who just want to be behind the wheel.”