As more partially or fully autonomous vehicles hit the road, Americans see responsibility for accidents shifting away from individual drivers and more toward the auto manufacturers and software developers that enable the autonomous technology, according to a study by American International Group.
Start with Americans Hold Split Opinions on Driverless Vehicles, featuring more info from the AIG study.
“As we move from autonomous features to fully driverless vehicles, risk does not disappear – it shifts from humans to machines,” says Lex Baugh, President, Liability and Financial Lines at AIG. “Understanding consumer perceptions of where risk with new technology ultimately resides today will help industry and insurers understand where liability may lie tomorrow.”
In one scenario where a fully driverless vehicle strikes a pedestrian, respondents felt the automaker (50 percent) and software provider (37 percent) would be most liable.
Interestingly, 23 percent of respondents still see the vehicle’s occupant as having some form of liability, while 19 percent see the same for the vehicle’s owner. Not surprisingly, 81 percent of respondents think individuals who purchase or ride in fully driverless vehicles should still be required to have auto insurance.
For a similar accident involving a vehicle with automated assisted driving technology, the driver is seen as most liable (54 percent), though the automaker and software provider are still seen as substantially liable among respondents, at 33 percent and 27 percent, respectively.
Along with this shifting sense of risk toward the commercial components of the car, a plurality of respondents (35 percent) felt automated assistance systems or driverless vehicles should result in lower insurance premiums for the vehicle owner.
“The need for personal auto insurance will not go away as driverless cars emerge. Though without doubt, we will see shifting of liability in certain scenarios,” says Gaurav D. Garg, CEO Personal Insurance, AIG. “There are many ways for the driverless vehicle story to unfold over the next several years. It is critical for insurers to carefully watch the trend to help prepare clients – both consumers and businesses.”