Driverless cars. Self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicles. There are a variety of terms used, and much has been written and discussed about the technology in recent years.
The government have recently published their latest plans for driverless cars on UK roads. Which includes the vision that we could start to see driverless cars on UK roads by 2025.
You can read the full document which sets out the government’s plans for realising the benefits of self-driving cars on the gov.uk website.
This includes work on regulatory, legislative and safety frameworks over the coming years given the significant change this would represent to UK roads.
Benefits of self-driving cars
It is thought that self-driving cars could bring many benefits to UK roads.
Some highlighted by the government report include:
- Improved road safety
- Improved accessibility to transport
- Economic growth
- New skills
- Reduced reliance on fossil fuels in the transport network
- Improved efficiency on roads – less congestion for example
Insurance considerations of self-driving cars
From an insurance perspective, having driverless cars on UK roads raises a number of questions.
- where would liability sit for an accident if a driverless car was found to be at fault?
- what about accidents which involve a driverless & driven vehicle?
- how will cyber security be managed if these vehicles are connected?
This article for example suggests that new laws could mean individuals will not be liable for accidents when self-driving technology is completely in control. However, those in self driving cars will need to follow rules set out by the Highway Code and other regulations when it comes to safe operation of these vehicles.
These are big questions. And ones that the government is looking to address as part of the ongoing work to enable driverless cars on UK roads over the coming years. One to keep an eye on. And one which we will be watching with interest over the coming months and years.