British insurers ask for driverless car data 0

british-insurers-ask-for-driverless-car-dataDriverless car technology is becoming closer and closer to becoming an everyday reality; the changes necessary in the rules of the road however, still appear some way off.

The insurance industry has issued a demand for more data from carmakers, regarding accidents involving driverless vehicles, with specific attention to whom or what was culpable. Insurers are saying that motorists need to be able to prove they’re not at fault should the technology malfunction.

The Association of British Insurers wants vehicles to collect a basic set of core data which would be available following an accident. The information would detail the 30 seconds leading up to an accident, and the 15 seconds after. It would pinpoint the exact location of the car, and whether it was driving under an autonomous mode or via the driver. It would also be able to tell if the motorist was sitting in the driver’s seat and if they were wearing a seatbelt.

Director General of the ABI, Huw Evans said the 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.”

Looking long term, it’s possible that autonomous vehicles could make the roads so safe there would be little point in having motor insurance. But for the foreseeable future, as cars start to adopt autonomous technology, there could be a tricky transitional period for motorists.

Thatcham’s Matthew Avery said there would be a gradual change in the rules: “In 2019 you will be able to buy a car with an autopilot system where you can take your hands off the wheel for up to three minutes. But that will only work on a motorway.”

“When the customer can buy a car like this it’s going to be confusing to him to understand what is allowed. Do I have to be in control or can I get in the back of the car and have a sleep?” The answer, he says, is no – 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.

Until then, we’ll be somewhere in between – the messy middle ground – allowing the car to take a portion of the burden of driving, whilst monitoring closely the cars behaviour and the road.

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