Insurance industry calls on government to clearly define autonomous automobiles

The insurance industry has laid out a set of criteria for the government to follow when defining autonomous cars.
Worried about drivers potentially misunderstanding different levels of autonomy on board new cars, the association of British Insurers (ABI) together with Thatcham Research, have listed 10 requirements for self-driving cars, and are urging government and automotive chiefs to ensure any automobile referred to as autonomous meets these criteria.
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• All you need to know about autonomous cars
The ABI and Thatcham recommend an autonomous automobile should comply with all UK traffic laws, should safely “manage all reasonably expected situations by itself”, that it should offer a clear handover to the driver if human input is required, and that it should “record and report what systems were in place at the time of an accident.”
These industry recommendations come hot on the heels of the Government’s Automated and electric vehicles Bill, which had its first parliamentary reading in October. The bill sets out a number of suggested laws for autonomous vehicles – including one that requires insurers to accept liability where automated systems have caused an accident – but it falls short of clearly defining what an autonomous automobile actually is.

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