If autonomous vehicles cause damage, injury or death, who is responsible? The driver, his employer, the lease company, the vehicle and software supplier or their manufacturer? The UK government is proposing a solution to answer that conundrum: double insurance.
The idea is to have two separate sets of insurance – one for manual driving and another for automated driving. This should help remove the legal barriers to the real-world introduction of self-drive technology, which the UK government forecasts for 2020.
The system of double insurance would clearly define the when the human driver is responsible, and when the other, self-drive insurance contract enters into vigour. This would make it easier and quicker to determine when a manufacturer is responsible for an accident, and also speed up compensation for the victims.
The UK insurance industry warns that double contracts would increase the cost of insurance for drivers and/or their employers. This contrasts sharply with the prediction that automated driving will greatly diminish the number of accidents, reducing the value of the automotive insurance market by as much as 60% by 2040.
Image: Mariordo, CC BY-SA 3.0