It's a debate that's been going on for some time - if you're in a self-driving car and it does something wrong, who foots the bill? The car owner, or the car maker? The UK government has answered that question.
According to a new UK bill, self driving cars must be covered by insurance. This means that they believe that if your piloted vehicle does something wrong, you’re at fault. In the new proposals, you must be covered when you’re in control of the vehicle, and you must be covered if the vehicle is driving by itself.
That being said, the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill doesn’t stop insurers trying to recover their costs from a carmaker – it just ensures that accidents caused by either the driver or the automated technology are covered if the other driver or car was not at fault.
The reason this decision was made is because ministers want to ensure that accident victims are able to claim compensation easily if a collision occurs in a car with self-driving technology on board, regardless of whether the human driver or software were controlling the car.
It’s worth noting that the bill worrying includes a section about updating your self-driving car. If you miss an update, or ignore an update that your insurance policy requires you to, you will be left liable for any damage your car causes.
“[The bill] demonstrates the government’s clear commitment to moving forward when it comes to automated vehicles.”
BEN HOWARTH – SENIOR POLICY ADVISER, ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH INSURERS
With self-driving cars already being tested on UK roads, and the number of cars being announced with the technology built in as standard on the rise, it’s clear that the government needed to introduce this type of bill sooner rather than later.
The ministers state that the government reserves the right to determine if a car falls under the “self-driving car” banner, and therefore subject to the new rules.
The government have made a few changes recently in regards to insurance policies - one of them being a crackdown on whiplash claims in minor accidents. This bill is a clear look at the future of straightforward, simplified insurance policies.