Ayman Alashkar, CEO, OBOTEO - UAE, speaks at the session 'Autonomous Vehicles on the UAE’s roads – What’s the public’s view?' during the AI Evrything at Dubai World Trade Centre and Exhibition halls, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is aiming for 25 per cent of transport through self-driving vehicles by 2030 — so what do residents think about getting inside a car driven by a computer?

According to a new survey of over 1,400 UAE residents, which focused on self-driving taxis and school buses, most people wouldn’t hop in right away.

The survey, held in quarter one of this year by OBOTEO-UAE, suggests only one in eight people would take an autonomous taxi when it is first introduced on Dubai roads.

It would take 15 months for 50 per cent of passengers to adopt unmanned taxis, and five years to reach the 89 per cent adoption mark, the survey shows.

The findings were revealed at the ‘AI Everything’ event in Dubai on Tuesday.

And who should be held responsible if a “taxident” happens?

Two in five respondents said the taxi company should be accountable, around a quarter said the car manufacturer, 16 per cent said the licensing authority and nine per cent said the insurer.

Residents also seem strict with the suggested course of action following an accident, with one in three saying the taxi should be decommissioned immediately.

Also, when asked if they would let their children board a self-driving school bus, one in 12 parents are “enthusiastic early adopters”, two in 10 are “staunch refuseniks” and three in 10 would agree after a three-year successful track record of the driverless school bus.

The survey also looked at whose safety should be prioritised by an autonomous vehicle in an imminent crash.

More than half (51 per cent) said the vehicle should always prioritise its passengers’ safety. However, 25 per cent highlight a special concern for children and pregnant women — although it is unclear how the vehicle would recognise them.

Presenting the survey highlights, Ayman Alashkar, CEO, OBOTEO-UAE, said the main “motivational driver” behind autonomous cars was to “save lives” by reducing human-error-related accidents.

He added that studies suggest self-driving cars can reduce fatal accidents by 70 to 90 per cent by taking out human error, which is the main cause of accidents.

Alashkar said last year Dubai Police recorded over 2,500 accidents — 90 per cent of which were caused by human error. Around 13 per cent of those accidents caused death or serious injury.