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Autonomous Vehicles – UK Government Introduces Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill; Related News

Emerging Risk - Autonomous Vehicles
(risk assessment: underwriting, strategic, reputational, regulatory, legal/compliance)

The UK government is anticipating driverless cars to be on the road by 2021, raising issues of how insurers' liabilities should be handled. To avoid customer confusion, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has set out 10 criteria and wants manufacturers to be "absolutely clear" about what their vehicles can and cannot do.

 The 10 key features and performance criteria required to define an automated vehicle:

  1. Naming: clearly describes automated capability
  2. Law abiding: complies with UK traffic laws and the Highway Code
  3. Location specific: functionality is limited to specific types of roads or areas via geo-fencing
  4. Clear handover: transfer of driving control follows a clear 'offer and confirm' process
  5. Safe driving: vehicle can manage all reasonably expected situations by itself
  6. Unanticipated handover: adequate and appropriate notice must be given if the vehicle needs to unexpectedly hand back driving control
  7. Safe stop: vehicle executes an appropriate 'safe stop' if unable to continue or the driver does not take back control
  8. Emergency intervention: vehicles can avoid or prevent an accident by responding to an emergency
  9. Back-up systems: safeguards step in if any systems fail
  10. Accident data: record and report what systems were in use at the time of an accident

The UK government drafted the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill (October, 2017), which requires insurance for automated vehicles. The bill has passed second reading at the parliament and is being considered by the Public Bill Committee. One of the reported objectives of the bill is to set the legislative groundwork for automated vehicle insurance.

The UK government has also backed autonomous vehicles trials, testing areas such as handover, data and cyber-security. The work on these projects is intended to help inform the evolving law in this area as we move closer to autonomous vehicles becoming a reality.

According to Transport minister Chris Grayling, the UK government is creating a new compulsory insurance framework that covers motorists when driving. This is to ensure that, following an accident when the driver has legitimately handed control to the vehicle, insurers can recover the costs from the liable party - which in the majority of cases is anticipated to be the manufacturer.

Grayling was noncommittal on how vehicle data should be recorded and shared, saying it could not be settled until automated vehicle technology has evolved further. The insurance industry has argued that in-vehicle data should be owned by the driver, not the manufacturer.

Related News

Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn, The New York Times (11/12/17) King, Cecilia

Arizona has become a laboratory for driverless cars with its rules-free environment, and the federal government looks poised to duplicate that environment to allow driverless cars to be deployed within a few years and restrict states from regulating them. Critics are concerned that the lack of regulation means that the privacy of passengers remains at risk and that cyberattacks are still a possibility. How to insure driverless vehicles is another major concern, but the state insurance regulator has indicated that he would wait for the insurance industry to guide regulators on liability policies. "The insurance companies need to figure out how they will insure this," says Stephen Briggs, a spokesperson for Arizona's Department of Insurance. Arizona has not changed its minimum insurance liability rules for self-driving car trials.

Arizona Self-Driving Vehicle Oversight Committee

Governor Ducey Tells Uber 'CA May Not Want You, But AZ Does'

See also:
PCI Viewpoint: Role of Government in Automated Driving Revolution.

Autonomous Vehicle Update - November 2017: A summary of the most recent legislative and regulatory activity on Autonomous Vehicles at the state and federal levels as well as a "news and notes" section containing links to studies and articles related to the increasing automation of the driving function. This month's edition features information about updated autonomous vehicle guidance from NHTSA, the first autonomous vehicle technology company to publish a "self-assessment" under the guidelines as well as Intel's plan to develop AV technology that is incapable of causing an accident.

For even more information, PCI has an "industry issues" page on the PCI website that can be accessed by the link below.  PCI Autonomous Vehicle Industry Issue Page