Who will be in the driving seat in driverless car revolution?
Stockton-On-Tees based Henderson Insurance Brokers says the “insurance dilemma” of driverless cars needs to be addressed before the vehicles can be embraced fully by business.
The cars, which will be fully automated and will rely on an Internet connection to operate, are set to be on our roads “within six months”, according to Business Secretary Vince Cable who has pledged to support the “transformational” technology.
Driverless technology will see “fleets” of satellite-controlled vehicles on Britain’s roads within years, which will enable ‘drivers’ to free up time normally spent driving to catch up on work or the latest episodes of a favourite TV programme, for example. Some cars already incorporate automated services such as driverless parking.
Jonathan Willett, Director of Henderson Insurance Brokers Teesside, said: “Driverless cars are an exciting innovation and it’s clear that they will arrive on our roads, but there is still much uncertainty over who will be ultimately responsible if there is an accident, for example. I doubt it will be the vehicle manufacturer but how can it be the driver if they are not actually in control of the vehicle?
“At a commercial level, will businesses want to be early adopters of a technology where there is still so much uncertainty? How will it be insured? Given these uncertainties, it could potentially be very difficult – in the absence of checks, balances or regular routine checks of the vehicle – for these vehicles to be insured at a cost-competitive rate. Car manufacturers must ultimately insure themselves against problems down the line. Driverless cars raise a lot of questions, not least around the safety of vehicles that rely on a permanent high-quality internet connection.”
It is currently illegal for cars to operate on UK roads without a driver in control. Semi-autonomous systems, including those available in cars such as the Volvo XC90, which control the speed of cars and keep them in lanes on motorways, require the driver to be fit and licensed to drive and have their hands on the steering wheel at all times to stay within the law.
The Department for Transport will also begin a review of the laws governing road use, but it has not yet provided a timescale for wider adoption beyond the saying that the report would be submitted to the government by the end of 2014.
Mr Willett added: “It is clear that this technology, while ultimately being very exciting in that it could potentially revolutionise the way we travel, work and do business, still has to clear a number of hurdles before it can be fully embraced by business.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Recognition PR Business Team .
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