Self-driving cars are coming. In fact, Tesla Model S owners woke up on the morning of October 15, 2015 to discover that a software download to the cars has made them capable of steering and changing lanes at high speed, slowing and stopping, and self-parking, in “Autopilot” mode. The future is now, and self-driving cars bring with them a host of unanswered questions relating to safety, liability, and the insurance for protecting against liability.
Over the next few months we’re going to produce a series of articles looking at issues affecting insurance raised by autonomous vehicles, and how those issues may develop and change as the degree of autonomy – and the number and types of autonomous vehicles on the roads – grows. For many years the insurance industry has been a prime mover in the field of vehicle safety. One of the main concepts behind the drive to develop autonomous vehicles is to reduce crashes, particularly ones that result in serious injury. 95% of fatalities from car crashes result from human error. How will the insurance industry keep up, and how will it adapt to the changing scenarios?