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Half of Britons say they would not ride in a self-driving car, like this Mercedes prototype shown off at CESReuters

This week the world's biggest car manufacturers descended on Las Vegas to show off the future of autonomous transport - but beyond the spectacle of self-driving cars, the public will need convincing that these technologies can be safe and reliable.

As Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes wowed the crowds with cars driving themselves at the CES technology trade show, it has been found half of the British public would refuse to be a passenger in an autonomous vehicle.

Questioning almost 1,000 UK adults in December last year, a survey conducted by uSwitch found that 48.3% would not be happy to be a passenger in a self-driving vehicle, with the majority refusing because of concerns over the safety of other drivers.

But the argument for continuing development of self-driving cars is a valid one, as 90% of road accidents are the result of human error, uSwitch claims. Head of Car Insurance at uSwitch, Rod Jones, said: "The potential safety benefits of driverless cars are significant and they should have a positive impact on car insurance premiums."

More than 40% of those asked said they would not trust a car to drive safely without a driver and 16% said they were "horrified" by the autonomous concepts being pushed by car companies.

Although questions remain over legislation and the infrastructure needed for autonomous cars to operate safely, car manufacturers are developing self-driving technology at breakneck speed; many of the features shown off at CES this week are installed on regular cars, and could park themselves on dealerships forecourts within the next two years.

Insurance concerns - who is responsible?

The UK government is to start testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry later this month, as experiments predicted to last between 18 months and three years get underway. These tests will help determine how towns and cities will accommodate fully autonomous cars, and also work out how insurance companies are to deal with accidents involving them.

A worry over insurance implications is shared by 35% of the population, who expect the introduction of self-driving cars to increase their premiums; a quarter believe any accidents involving autonomous cars should be blamed on the manufacturer, rather than themselves or other road users. Almost one-in-five would hold the driver responsible, no matter if the car was controlling itself in an autonomous drive mode or not.

On this matter, Jones said: "Confusion is still widespread and it will be vital for the government and the insurance industry to clarify the issue of liability over the coming months if driverless technology is to receive the public support it deserves."

Jaguar Land Rover is one of the biggest brands to involve itself with the government's research, but despite the potential publicity it and others could bring to the project, an overwhelming 92% of consumers say they feel "in the dark" about the government's plans.

But it isn't all bad news, as 18% of Britons say they are excited about future autonomous technology coming to our roads, while a further 19% think the introduction of autonomous cars will help solve hold-ups and traffic jams.