The proportion of UK drivers who say they like the idea of self-driving cars has tripled in 12 months, according to Close Brothers Motor Finance.

The firm said 31% of motorists it asked were in favour of full autonomy, up from 10% a year ago.

It says self-driving cars were found to have greatest appeal among young drivers, with 42% under 25 in favour, compared with 24% over 55.

Geographical location was also a factor, with self-driving cars most popular in London (38%) and least popular in Wales (24%).

However, even those in favour of the technology had some reservations, with 68% saying they would need to see more evidence that it was safe, and 48% worried about how the law would work in the event of an accident.

Close Brothers surveyed more than 2,000 drivers for its Britain Under the Bonnet report, due to be published next month.

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The firm's director of sales Sean Kemple said: "The sci-fi element of driverless cars certainly captures the imagination and is a great point for discussion. The huge leaps in technology have also been well documented in the press.

"However, the current testing that is going on suggests that the reality of driverless cars is still some way off. While interest is on the rise, it is telling that just 6% of drivers would actually consider buying one as their next car.

"Nevertheless, it poses some important questions for the future. The courier service industry is already anticipating huge changes, particularly for last-mile delivery, and not much further down the line the taxi industry is likely to change too.

"How these industries respond to these changes will be important to observe, and it is essential that dealers keep ahead of the curve and retain a holistic view of the industry."