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Call for #insurers to “directly control” #autonomous cars

By 5th April 2018No Comments
The self-driving vehicles of tomorrow could be actively monitored and shaped by insurance companies, suggests an autonomous vehicle start-up spun off from the University of Oxford.

In directly monitoring and controlling autonomous vehicles, insurers could adjust vehicle behaviour to account for nearby risk factors as they drive, according to Paul Newman, co-founder of Oxbotica and an Oxford professor.

“Insurers can adjust the envelope [in which a car can operate] to control the risk on the policy… the autonomy system has insurance built into it that allows it to control risk over a fleet,” Newman said in an article by MIT Technology Review.

According to the professor, if insurers are closely involved in the early iterations of self-driving cars and are open to insuring them, that could ease lawmaker concerns and pave the way for increased testing on public roads, a CNET report quoted. That could in turn lead to quicker adoption and commercialisation of automated vehicles.

Oxbotica’s own test cars already share select data with XL Catlin, the report said.

With the UK pushing for a framework that will allow autonomous vehicles on our roads by 2021, self-driving technology is already at the forefront of many insurers’ minds.

Last month, AXA and law firm Burges Salmon released a report which urged the government to pay attention to the ‘handover’ stage of driving, and called for new standards that “reflect the real-world capability of drivers and avoid stifling the development of automated vehicles by unfairly penalising motorists.”

The firms claimed that there is potentially a huge grey area emerging when it comes to the feature that allows drivers to hand over control to an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle, and vice-versa.

The report found that there are varying delays during the ‘handover period’ with a driver typically taking almost three seconds to have full control when a car is driving at 20mph.

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Tim Kelly

Tim is a highly qualified Independent Engineer with over 20 years experience as an Engineering Assessor of damaged vehicles.

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