How Driverless Vehicles Will Change the Insurance Game
During the past couple of years, there has been lots of talk about self-driving vehicles. And this year; the conversation became more substantial when on July 13, 2015, Google showed the prototype of its self-driving car in Silicon Valley City at the Community School of Music and Fine Arts in Mountain View. The location is about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco. And it gave attendants at the event a close up of the vehicle.
The prototype does not contain either a steering wheel or pedals like a conventional car. In fact, the vehicle is designed to drive without a dedicated driver behind the wheel.
Beginning in June, Google has been testing the prototypes on the road near its headquarters in Silicon Valley. And not only does the Internet giant have an interest in this type of technology, but some traditional auto manufacturers have begun introducing vehicles that are partially automated.
Both Mercedes and Toyota have introduced vehicles that have braking and parking assistance. Also, they have plans to take the automation further in coming years. Google is not the only tech company to have an interest in autonomous vehicles. In fact, Alibaba and Baidu have also been interested. And they believe they can have a fully operational self-driving vehicle ready in five years.
The Question Remains “What About Auto Insurance?”
Autonomous vehicles have the self-driving technology. So this could mean a change on the roadways by making traffic efficient and less room for error. After all, there is no place for issues like driver distraction or driver error. Also, this could change the whole transportation issue, including possible car ownership due to alternatives.
According to an article in the Yale Journal of Law & Technology, it discusses the 200 billion dollars a year automobile insurance industry. And it relates how this type of technology with autonomous vehicles could make having private auto insurance unnecessary in the future. Yale Law School Student Jack Boeglin who authored the article surmised that private insurance would not be needed. Because of this, liability would get transferred to the manufacturers.
Using this theory, he goes on to say drivers who want to keep their driving privileges would be required to pay. Also, if an accident occurred using collected data from the vehicle’s computer, it could be used to determine the percentage of the driver’s fault. Then the liability using this digital data would be assigned.
What are the Major Liability Issues?
On the other hand, driver’s who relinquish their driving privileges to the vehicle’s automation would not have liability issues. So they would not be required to pay for insurance. Also, this could save driver’s thousands of dollars in insurance premiums. But the question would be is this enough motivation for the public to change to self-driving vehicles?
Ehline Law Firm finds the advances in technology in this area exciting. But we wonder if self-driving cars when the time comes will stop accidents from happening. As with anything computerized, issues can occur. And what happens when there are both types of vehicles on the roads? To learn more about motor vehicle accidents and liability visit our pages.