Have you ever wondered what will happen to M plans when modern technology controls our driving habits to the extent that we are no longer in control of driving the car? How will these cars be able to “see” the traffic around them? What will happen in the event of a car accident? Who will be held liable?
What are self-driving cars?
Before we look at the impact of technology on motor vehicle insurance plans, let us have a look at what autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars are.
According to Wikipedia, “An autonomous car (driverless car, self-driving car, robotic car) is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input.”
Global corporations such as Google have been developing driverless cars for a while now. The aim of these cars is to allow the elderly as well as visually impaired people to retain their independence. It is also to reduce the number deaths due to car accidents as a result of human error; however, these self-driving cars are not immune to vehicle accidents themselves.
Samuel Gibbs of the Guardian Newspaper reported on Monday 26 September 2016, that “one of Google’s self-driving cars was involved in one of the worst autonomous vehicle accident yet when a driver ran a red light and collided with the passenger side door of the modified Lexus SUV.” Even though no one was injured in this accident, and it was not the autonomous car’s fault, the fact remains that the car did not know how do deal with this type of scenario.
Autonomous cars and motor vehicle insurance
There will be a period of time where both driverless vehicles and human-driven vehicles on the road together. Who will be held liable for accidents between two vehicles? Depending on the reason for the accident, the insurer may hold the manufacturer of the driver-less vehicle liable for the accident. Because driverless vehicles have very complicated sensory software built into the vehicle, it is vulnerable to hacking? Who will pay for the damage incurred by a hacked vehicle?
Motor vehicle insurance plans determine their monthly premiums based on a couple of factors. I’m sure everyone who has applied for a car insurance policy remembers being asked all sorts of questions, such as: What is the cost of your car, was your car purchased for business or personal use, and have you been involved in any motor vehicle accidents in the last 5 years? The answers to these questions determine the risk the insurer will have to take when insuring your motor vehicle; thereby, passing the risk down to you in the form of your monthly premium.
It is obvious that there are still many questions to be asked and answered around the insurance of driverless vehicles. Fortunately, as motor vehicle owners, we do not have to figure the answers to these questions out. All we have to do is decide which insurance policy suits our unique requirements.