Driverless cars have become an increasingly exciting and much talked about topic in the news the last year. From Google’s self-driving car “Waymo” to Ford’s fleet of fully autonomous Sedans – several car manufacturers are jumping on the band wagon in a desperate bid to be the first in the industry to provide the next, most innovative, and efficient means of transportation.
Imagine never having to order a cab, being able to have that extra glass of wine, and never dealing with road rage fuelled morons ever again? It sounds like a dream come true doesn’t it!? But realistically it is still early days, and it will be a while before this will ever be a true way of life for all motorists.
Why is this?
1. Because the cars will cost as much as your mortgage
2. They aren’t 100% reliable or crash proof yet
3. Claims processes for accidents have not been established
The third point is very significant because how is it possible for these vehicles to be caught up in an accident in the first place? Human error will be eradicated, so it can only be as a result of human interference i.e. hackers, OR internal software malfunction.
As you can imagine, both scenarios have left manufacturers trembling at the knees, and consequently, they’re looking for solutions and prevention techniques so these sorts of events never occur.
How will claims be settled?
Many anticipate the risk will be transferred from the individual to the manufacturer in the rare event of a claim, but autonomous cars should also have a manual override feature where humans may (for whatever reason) need to take back control of the car. If that is the case, when a car is involved in an accident, liability could fall back on the driver.
It’s also going to be extremely difficult for people to be able to file for whiplash or “crash-for-cash” scams anymore, as data within the vehicles will be able to provide insurers with a very clear picture of the activities leading up to the time of the accident.
Although the world we live in today is much more security conscious, theft is something which will always remain a problem and will still result in claims – but the costs insurers have to pay out on collisions is likely to be significantly lower, and should save drivers a lot of money in the long haul.
How will car insurance be calculated, or will it cease to exist as we know it?
Little is known about how insurance will be affected in terms of cost when driverless cars are set to make it onto UK roads by 2025. At this stage it’s hard to get any definitive answers because there simply isn’t enough data to go by yet. Insurers will also have to account for the fact that combustible and driverless cars will be side by side for quite some time until autonomous driving becomes an affordable and normal means of getting around.
So it’s probably going to be another 20 or so years before we see our roads flocked with these little futuristic pods! According to the AA, only 10% of new cars currently make up road traffic in the UK, so until self-driving ones become compulsory – it could be a while before you kiss goodbye to your insurance premiums!