Driverless car technology seems to be advancing at breakneck speed - Now the insurance industry is calling on carmakers to provide more data to show who was at fault in accidents involving driverless vehicles. The insurers say drivers need to be able to prove that they're not at fault if the technology goes wrong.
The Association of British Insurers wants cars to collect a basic set of core data which would be made available after an accident. The data would cover
- 30 seconds before any incident
- 15 seconds after any incident
- exact location of the vehicle
- Mode: autonomous or under the control of the driver
- If the motorist was in the driver's seat and had a seatbelt on.
The ABI's Director General Huw Evans says this data "would offer public reassurance by protecting motorists from being incorrectly blamed if something fails with their car, helping police investigations and supporting prompt insurance payouts."
The UN body which agrees international regulations on vehicle safety is due to bring in new rules on data collection in 2019 and the insurers are hoping to influence that process.
In the long term, fully autonomous vehicles could make the roads so safe meaning that there would be little need for motor insurance. However for the next few years, as more cars get autonomous driving features, there could be a period of dangerous confusion for motorists.
Experts think that we will have to wait until the mid 2020s for a vehicle that can be left to get on with the job in all circumstances. Will autonomous driving technology even appear attractive in the interim with the higher price tag, when those that buy it will have to keep their hands hovering over the wheel and their eyes on the road until the product evolves further. Only time will tell.....