British insurers give driverless capability warning

Insurance companies are warning carmakers and government regulators must spell out the current limitations of self-driving technology otherwise plans to make the UK a world leader could backfire.

The news agency Reuters reports that insurers are concerned drivers might equate today’s lower levels of automation with fully self-driving vehicles, potentially causing more accidents in the short term and permanently damaging public confidence in the technology.

Reuters spoke to David Williams, managing director of underwriting at AXA Insurance, which has been involved in a number of driverless projects here, including VENTURER and FLOURISH. “What you describe things as is incredibly important, so people don’t use them inappropriately,” he’s quoted as saying. “I genuinely believe the world will be a safer place with autonomous vehicles and I really don’t want that derailed.”

The report adds that Neil Ingram, insurer Direct Line’s head of motor product management, said it was vital “Level 3” technologies were described clearly and accurately. “We’ve known for years the path to full automation was a tricky one and Level 3 has always been the problem child,” he said. “If the government decides to designate ALKS systems as automated then that makes it very, very real.” Direct Line has been working on driverless projects too, including one with TRL and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Read the full report here.

(Picture – Yay Images)

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