Will driverless cars lead to cheap car insurance?

The Government is keen to spend shedloads of cash on new driverless car technology – will it lead to cheap car insurance for Brits suffering from high rates?

The Government just announced it’s going to be pouring a massive amount of dosh into funding for schemes to develop driveless car technology. In fact Business Secretary Sajid David just made it official: an additional ¬£20 million is being forked over, and car insurance companies have come out of the woodwork to praise the move, saying that it’ll slash car insurance rates for British motorists.

In fact, the Association for British Insurers has been cheering the new announcement. The ABI’s motor and liability policy advisor Ben Howarth remarked that driverless technology could be revolutionary for transport in the UK. He went on to say that the insurance industry is absoltuely committed to getting driverless cars on British roads, and that Government investment is going to be instrumental in achieving these lofty goals.

One particular project has the ABI all a-flutter. A scheme to examine how to collect and use accident data from driverless vehicles is going to be crucial to establish a motor car insurance system that will be straightforward and simple, Howarth stated, and could help to get these types of cars on the road swiftly. The ABI has already formed a coalition of 13 British insurance companies which will be partnering with Thatcham Research to look into possible issues that would come up where automated vehicles are concerned – chiefly when it comes to deciding issues of liability in the event of any accidents.

So I don’t really know what to think about this. On the one hand, not having to pay through the nose for insurance because a computer driver is considered safer than a human one sounds like a win to me, especially when it comes to how much money Brits have to spend nowadays on their annual premiums. For what it’s worth though I’m not sure if giving up the ability to actually operate a motor vehicle in exchange for cheap car insurance is a good trade-off.¬†This technology is so new – and so untested – that there could be any number of issues that could come up whilst riding in an automated vehicle. What if there’s a malfunction that leaves you stranded in the middle of the motorway? Worse yet, what if there’s a glitch that actually causes a road traffic accident? Will there be a way to seize control of an automated vehicle in an emergency?

Too many questions still need to be answered, if you ask me.

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