Will we ever be able to trust self-driving cars?

When you're sitting in the driver's seat at 60mph on a rain-lashed motorway, covering your eyes would normally be a dangerous, if not downright suicidal move.

Putting on a virtual reality headset, obscuring the view of the road altogether, might seem even crazier.

But that's exactly what I did recently.

To start with, I was looking at a computer simulation of the motorway in front of me. Then the road disappeared altogether, the car took off, and I began flying through an alien landscape.

This was the rather unsettling gimmick chosen by Renault to illustrate the potential of its new self-driving concept car, the Symbioz. The idea is that if you're not driving, you can turn your mind, and eyes, to other things.

But will we ever be able to trust driverless technology enough to do that, and would we be right to do so?

My experience in the Symbioz - a car designed for fully hands-off driving - hardly filled me with confidence. The hi-tech sensors fogged up, the system stopped working, and a safety driver - usefully equipped with dual controls - had to take over.

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