Driverless Cars and Their Insurance Policies
July 17, 2015
Advancements in Technology Result in a Self-Driving Car
Amazing technological breakthroughs in the last couple of decades have transformed how we live in ways we could never have seen coming. Google’s self-driving car uses sophisticated software to take the wheel so drivers can sit back and relax along with their passengers. The driverless vehicle accelerates, brakes, and avoids accidents using laser-guided sensor technology. It is also powered by Google Chauffer software that can be turned on and off like cruise control. The driver can take over or let the computer drive at his or her convenience. Starting this year, Google released the self-driving car onto the roads of northern California for testing. They plan to make the cars available for purchase in 2020.
Google’s driverless car has proven to be significantly safer than a human-driven car. The only few accidents it’s been in was the result of another human-driving vehicle. Safety’s future on the road is looking very bright, which may change the way insurance companies deal with and charge their customers. According to the Detroit Free Press, experts from the Insurance Information Institute believe, “there will still be a need for [insurance] coverage” for the unpredictable mishaps, but who provides insurance plans may change. While the safety of self-driving cars will most likely reduce the number of accidents in general, experts also believe that costs for replacing parts will increase due to the complexity of the technology.
Playing a Part on Insurance Policies
More self-driving cars on the road mean fewer drivers signing up for insurance policies to cover their human-driven cars. Consulting group, KPMG, believes consumers will be able to demand lower premiums from insurance companies “to reflect fewer accidents” from self-driving cars. On the other hand, because accidents are expected to be the result of defective software, the cost of product liability insurance for the software manufacturers may result in higher premiums trickling down to the consumer.
A road dominated by self-driving cars is still a few years off, even by the most optimistic projections. However, the Sam Bernstein Law Firm is keeping up and adapting to the changes in technology to best support accidents and accident liability.