Driverless Cars already impacting the UK Insurance Industry
One insurance company in the UK is already making provision for modern day cars with automated features such as self parking, autopilot and even ABS – anti lock braking systems.
The company in question is Adrian Flux and they say that their policy will evolve as driverless technology develops and they keep an eye firmly on the liability debate with driverless tech.
The Association of British Insurers state that the insurance industry is 100% committed to supporting the development of automated vehicles, which have the potential to drastically improve road safety in the UK and worldwide. Some estimates put human error as high as 90% as the cause for fatalities in road traffic collisions. As a result, a move to self driving cars is expected to reduce car insurance premiums in the long term.
Gary Bucke, the general manager of Adrian Flux said that they had already been providing discounts for cars fitted with assistive tech such as autonomous braking as they have been shown to reduce vehicle collisions by between 20 and 40%.
The new driverless policy will cover loss in events such as the failure of the manufacturers vehicle operating system to function as designed, a failure to manually override the system to prevent an accident should the system fail and even damage caused as a result of your vehicle software being hacked!
One of the biggest headline issues is the vulnerability of driverless cars to hacking, with many high-profile cases involving big manufacturers such as Jeep revealing security flaws in existing software. As a result, the risk of hacking has raised concerns for many would-be owners.
The industry as a whole is said to be working with the UK government to determine when a manufacturer is responsible for an accident as opposed to a driver and the modern transport bill announced in the Queens Speech will soon extend compulsory cover to include accidents where a cars assistive technology is at fault.
Major UK insurers such as Direct Line Group, AXA, XL Catlin and RSA are working intensively on pilots of autonomous vehicles across the country. While car manufacturers are producing innovative hardware and software, insurers are innovating their products to make sure vital questions of safety and liability are answered.
Interestingly, a survey conducted by Adrian Flux revealed that currently very few people would consider buying a driverless car in the near future. Of the 70% who answered “not likely” to owning a driverless car, 45% said they didn’t like the idea of giving up control to a computer and 36% said they simply enjoy driving to much to give up the reins.
“I would not want my safety decided by a software engineer,” said one respondent, while another added: “Quite simply they have CPUs that by their very nature can be hacked in much the same way wi-fi can be hijacked.”
So while the safety and liability debate rumbles on, only time will tell whether the public are ready to embrace the new driverless tech and place their lives in the hands of self-governing computerised cars. Watch this space!
www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/driverless-cars/ www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/07/uk-driverless-car-insurance-policy-adrian-flux www.adrianflux.co.uk/driverless-cars/conservatives-pushing-for-driverless-cars-2021/