UK insurers stress importance of clear driverless definitions

The UK’s Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, which introduces new insurance rules to cover self-driving cars, reached its second reading in the House of Commons this week.

Ahead of the Bill completing its first formal parliamentary debate, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that establishing clear definitions of which vehicles can be safely used in automated mode will be crucial in successfully bringing automated technologies to the UK’s roads.

The ABI said that vehicle manufacturers must also be responsible about how they describe their cars – for example, not using the term ‘driverless’ if the human driver is required to be alert and able to intervene in the event of a problem.

“Automated vehicles have the potential to dramatically improve road safety and revolutionise our transport systems,” said Ben Howarth, Senior Policy Adviser on Motor and Liability at the ABI. 

“The insurance industry has been working hard alongside Government to help pave the way for them to be used on the UK’s roads, including supporting a straightforward insurance model.

“There will need to be a clear system to establish which vehicles can safely be used in autonomous mode, and we look forward to hearing more from the Government about how these standards will be agreed. Helping drivers understand what their vehicles are capable of will be vital to the safe and successful roll out of these new technologies.”