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What can market research tell us about the future of technology?

What can market research tell us about the future of technology?

Would you get into an un-manned drone taxi? Or go on a date with a robot?

They may seem like far-fetched ideas from sci-fi films, but the rapid pace of technological advances means they could be part of our lives sooner than we think. Smart home tech, augmented reality and almost every programme on-demand are just a few every-day examples of technology that has made the jump from the realms of fiction to reality.

Looking ahead

A recent Populus survey explores what the UK public thinks about the future of technology. Commissioned by the founders of London Tech Week, the research investigates a series of predictions put forward by Imperial College London’s Tech Foresight group.

The research uncovers some key findings:

  • Two thirds of people (67%) believe that advances in driverless car technology could lead to dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles.
  • More than a third (34%) say they would be willing to make a journey in an un-manned drone taxi.
  • Almost a quarter of people (23%) expect cities to ban human drivers completely.


Not every proposed technology was popular. There was less appetite for dining at a restaurant serving a 3D printed meal (19%) or purchasing an underwater home (12%). The findings show 4% of women would be willing to go on a date with a human like robot, compared to 12% of men.

Market research meets new technology

No industry is exempt from the emergence of new technologies. The recently launched Populus Virtual Reality panel, is one example of developments within the market research industry. The innovative approach offers insight derived from live, real-world experience.

It’s been confirmed to be practical within quant research while producing meaningful insight, showing high engagement rates, with respondents offering highly positive reactions to virtual reality stimulus. 88% of respondents would like to do a virtual reality survey again in the future.

The survey type isn’t for every survey or client, but has been used in a retail environment successfully. In the same way, not every technological advancement is going to be for everyone. The research by Populus commissioned by the founders of London Tech Week demonstrates the public’s varied appetite for different technologies.

Populus’s Business & Consumer Insight team unlocks the Critical Knowledge that brands and companies need to prepare for the future.  Find out more about our Solutions by calling us on +44 [0]20 7253 9900 or emailing info@populus.co.uk.


Populus interviewed a random sample of 2,057 UK adults aged 18+ from its online panel between 10– 11 May 2017 on behalf of London & Partners. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk. 

View the full Data Tables here.

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