UK insurer wants right to collect accident data before agreeing to offer self-driving car coverage

The MP’s panel, which is hearing evidence from self-driving car experts, was told by senior insurance industry officials that it should be given the right to collect “crash data” from driverless vehicles. They are on British roads.

The commission was also told that in the future, it is likely that the car, not the driver, will be insured.

Mark Shepherd, General Insurance Policy Officer at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), says that in order to be able to properly evaluate insurance claims, it needs to be able to access the “crash data” stored in self-driving cars. He told the House Transportation Committee that there is.

he said: It doesn’t work or causes conflicts. ”

Mr Shepard said:

“But the transition period is actually very important because it is a time when different types of vehicles with different technologies interact with each other and real-world driving conditions change. , I think it’s the combination of the two that creates a lot of uncertainty in the next period,” he added.

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Britain’s Prince William (R), Duke of Cambridge, visited Milton Keynes to celebrate the city’s 50th anniversary on September 26, 2017, and was shown a self-driving car. (Chris J. Ratcliffe/AFP via Getty Images)

The driver will be “system administrator”

Later, Becky Guy, road safety manager for the Royal Society for Accident Prevention, said this transition period, when vehicles were not fully automated, was perhaps the most dangerous.

“At the moment, one of the key issues is that partially automated vehicles will issue transition requests, effectively transitioning the role of the driver from operating the vehicle to being a system administrator,” she said. It’s an idea,” he said.

“And the real challenge here is to keep that person in the loop of that vehicle, especially as the system works in many situations where you may have to intervene or the vehicle may crash. Especially if drivers start believing that it’s very low,’ then they might tend to pay less attention to driving,’ Guy said.

She said one of the “irony of automation” is that “far from easing the driver’s driving task, the system requires the driver to control the vehicle and make highly complex decisions.”

Shepard said the insurance industry believes autonomous vehicle technology is potentially “great”. Adaptation of this technology has great benefits, but the regulations and laws that support it need to catch up with the technology if we are to become a world leader in its field. ”

Technological advances lead to ‘political’ challenges

Jack Stilgoe, professor of science and technology policy at University College London, was asked whether self-driving cars would make road pricing easier to implement. Created as UK motorists gradually switch to electric vehicles.

“In principle, it would be easier technically to know who is driving where and when, and to set road prices accordingly, but that doesn’t make it political,” Stilgoe said. says.

He also said speeding could be a thing of the past, but many drivers would resent not being able to drive as fast as they wanted.

Stilgoe said: However, I believe that democratic debate is necessary when advancing technology development so that there is no risk of backlash. ”

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Google’s self-driving Lexus car is parked at Google’s event in Mountain View, Calif., May 13, 2014. (Eric Risberg/AP Photo)

Ben Gardner, a technology attorney at Pinsent Masons, told MPs that as a result of Brexit, the UK was free to draft its own laws on self-driving cars, but said: The largest export market for automobiles is Europe. Therefore, it makes no sense to develop vehicles and technology in one of the United States’ largest export markets, where he ultimately passes laws that are not legally compliant. ”

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that 11 people died in the United States in accidents involving vehicles with self-driving systems between May and September of this year.

Ten of the deaths involved Tesla vehicles, but it wasn’t clear if they were caused by technical or driver error.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.