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Driverless Vehicles

UK’s 1st “Driverless Car Insurance Policy” Launched By Adrian Flux

The UK-based firm Adrian Flux has launched what is now the UK’s first insurance policy for driverless vehicles and technologies, according to a recent blog post from the insurance company.

The company apparently intends for the launch of the new insurance policy to move forward “the discussion around who or what is liable in the event of a collision.”

The policy was designed “for people who may have driverless or autonomous features in their existing car, or who may be thinking of buying a new car with driverless or autopilot features such as Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3.”

So, it’s probably worth taking a look at this policy for those who are considering purchasing the model, or already have a reservation for one.

While there are many similarities with typical insurance plans, there are also differences of course. Here’s an overview of those differences:

  • The owner is covered for loss or damage if there are satellite outages or failures that cause problems for the navigation system, the operating system, or other software.
  • The owner is covered for loss or damage if updates or security patches for important systems (operating system, mapping, firewalls, routing software, etc.) haven’t been installed within the first 24 hours of the owner being notified of them by the manufacturer or software provider (subject to additional policy excess).
  • The owner is covered for loss or damage if that loss or damage is the result of a failure to use the manual override system to prevent an accident or collision — in the event of operating system failure, navigation failure, or mechanical failure.
  • The owner is covered for loss or damage if the vehicle gets hacked, or an attempted hacking causes damage.

That’s all very interesting, but what about collisions? Rather than paraphrase, I’ll go ahead and quote what the blog post said on the matter, so there’s no ambiguity:

“Who is liable in the event of an accident or collision? This is the 64-million-dollar question! In terms of deciding who or what is responsible if there’s an accident or collision, this will depend on a number of factors, as it would for existing cars: the condition of the car, the driver’s awareness and abilities at the time, road conditions, other vehicles or people involved and so on.

“If, for instance, the car’s driverless technology or its supporting systems are shown to have failed or caused some other disruption resulting in an accident, collision or other type of damage, the driver may not bear any responsibility. The way we’ve designed our driverless car policy means that the driver will always need to be able to take control of the car at any point in their journey. So a driver couldn’t turn on the autopilot and have a nap at the wheel. The owner will always need to maintain their car, as they would any other vehicle. They’ll need to make sure any updates from manufacturers or other relevant parties are promptly installed, although they’ll be covered if that isn’t the case for the first 24 hours.”

About what one would expect…

The company also noted in its post that the policy will “almost certainly” be changed in the future, as the technology matures and begins allowing for fully autonomous cars.

The post also noted that the UK’s Modern Transport Bill, recently announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, will “extend compulsory cover to accidents where the car itself, rather than the driver, is at fault.”

(Hat tip to “Fully Charged.”)

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


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