Government outlines insurance plans for autonomous vehicles

12.00 | 11 January 2017 | | 4 comments

The Government has announced that it is to extend compulsory motor vehicle insurance to include the use of autonomous vehicles.

In its response to a consultation on ‘proposals to support advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicles’, published on 6 January, the DfT said it would look to protect victims of collisions where autonomous vehicle technology was at fault.

It confirmed that the victim will have a ‘direct right against the motor insurer, and the insurer in turn will have a right of recovery against the responsible party, to the extent there is a liability under existing laws, including product liability laws’.

Insurance has been seen as a stumbling block when it comes to the future of autonomous vehicle technology. In January 2016, a number of Britain’s leading car insurers joined forces to address concerns within the industry that the introduction of driverless cars could see premiums and profits slashed.

They formed the Automated Driving Insurance Group (ADIG), led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), in an effort to establish who will be responsible in the event of a collision – the ‘driver’ or the vehicle manufacturer.

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Launched in July, the Government consultation sought views on proposals to make amendments to primary legislation to ensure insurance products will be available for the arrival of the technology.

In its response, the DfT said it received ‘positive support’ from automotive, road safety, legal and insurance bodies for its proposed approach to regulating new vehicle technologies in a rolling programme of reform.

With regard to proposals to change the compulsory motor insurance framework, the Government will make the ‘minimum legislative changes required to enable the market to develop appropriate autonomous vehicle insurance products’.

However, in response to feedback from the automotive and insurance industries, as well as law firms, the proposals will ‘extend compulsory motor vehicle insurance, creating a single insurer model to protect victims where the autonomous vehicle causes a crash in automated mode’.

The Government proposals, which also include updating the Highway Code, will be taken through to the Modern Transport Bill which is due to enter Parliament in early 2017.


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    Is it all worth it?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Regarding the comment by Charles. His view on seperation is supported by the seperation practiced by the current Personal Rapid Transit Systems in operation at Morgantown, West Virginia, Masdar in Abu Dhabi, and Heathrow Airport in London. However a completely driverless zone or country enables existing roads to be used. That system drastically reduces deaths and injuries and is so profitable that increasing contol of pedestrians and law enforcement can handle the problem.

    Brian Gilbert, London England
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I see no significant difference between riding in a hired driverless vehicle such as a taxi and currently riding in a taxi. For maintenance, reliability and cost reasons I expect all vehicles to be driverless and hired by the trip.

    Brian Gilbert, London U.K.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It is anticipated that autonomous vehicle controllers are going to be better at anticipating and avoiding collisions than their human counterparts. How long I wonder, before pedestrians, cyclists and human drivers learn how to take advantage of this feature by crossing roads and pulling-out in front of them, knowing that the AV will unfailingly be alert and able to react optimally to avoid a collision. History tells us that any obvious extra safety offered by these vehicles will be immediately cancelled out by the human road users pushing their luck further to absorb the extra safety margin made available by the AVs. It could be that to get the most out of these vehicles, dedicated and segregated facilities will need to be provided to enable them to actually be used efficiently.

    Charles, England
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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