Group formed to consider driverless cars

A group of 11 UK motor insurers, led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research, has now been formed to consider key issues relating to automated driving on UK roads, particularly concerning insurance and liability.

The Automated Driving Insurer Group will feed into ABI policy and work with the Government on shaping the future of automated vehicle use in the UK.

The group will be chaired by David Williams, head of underwriting at AXA, and consists of representatives from 11 UK motor insurers: Admiral, Ageas, Allianz, Aviva, AXA, Co-operative Insurance, Covea, Direct Line Group, LV, Zurich and the Lloyd’s Market.

Some key issues already identified by the group include:

– Who could be held liable after an accident – drivers, manufacturers, system developers, car dealers, car maintenance firms or a combination?
– How to cope with vehicles at different levels of automation
– How data from individual vehicles will be recorded and used to improve safety and clarify liability
– Whether there need to be changes to existing road traffic laws and what those changes might be

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said, ‘The presence of driverless cars on UK roads would be life-changing in many ways, and one of the business sectors likely to be most affected is insurance. Contrary to what some people might expect, insurers are not standing in the way of this development but actively looking to support progress and innovation.

‘The developments we’ve seen towards increasingly autonomous vehicles are already reaping rewards – with autonomous emergency braking reducing collisions and injuries and helping to bring down insurance premiums. Truly driverless cars have the potential to dramatically reduce deaths and injuries on the roads and could revolutionise what we think of as public transport. The role of motor insurance in such a future will be very different to what it is today, but insurance will be part of the picture.’