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What challenges does the autonomous vehicle industry face? Shares How will the autonomous vehicle industry inspire consumer confidence? Credit: Getty […]
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What challenges does the autonomous vehicle industry face? Shares How will the autonomous vehicle industry inspire consumer confidence? Credit: Getty 16 November 2018 • 4:30pm Follow Matthew Avery, director of Insurance Research, discusses the pivotal role insurers will play in the advancement of the autonomous industry and how to inspire consumer confidence in the safety of driverless cars
A s director of Insurance Research, the key aspect of Matthew Avery’s role is engaging with member insurers and building on existing relationships with other technology-focused global organisations and partners.
Mr Avery spoke to us about how insurers will adapt to the different challenges autonomous vehicles will bring, how to inspire consumer confidence, and the current legislation and regulation in the UK.
Q. How pivotal a role do insurers play in the advancement of assisted and automated driving technology?
A. Insurers have a pivotal role to play. As having insurance for your vehicle is a legal requirement there will be a need to move to a more strict liability-type system, where insurance risk focuses on the car and less the driver. Also, under the terms of the Automated and Electric Vehicle Bill, insurers will be obliged to cover automated vehicles, even though a driver may not be in control. Therefore, the provision of insurance needs to change, and the industry is working very closely with the Government around this. However, if insurers are taking on the potential risk of an automated vehicle, they need to be convinced and ensure firstly that they are safe, and secondly that data is openly accessible to identify who was driving at the time of the collision.
Q. How does UK legislation and regulation around autonomous cars compare to other nations? Are we well placed to be smart mobility leaders?
A. The UK is generally ahead of the game in terms of research around automated vehicles and preparedness for automation. However, type approval – design laws that govern the functionality and safety of vehicles, and [that are] defined internationally – are usually governed by the UN in Geneva, and subsequently the design of vehicles will be common across countries. The UK Government, through the DfT [Department for Transport], are taking a very active role in these discussions though. Any high-profile crashes covered in the media may generate mistrust and leading to groups wanting a ban of the use of these systems in their communities
The use of automated vehicles in the UK is defined locally through the Road Traffic Act, and work is ongoing to prepare local traffic laws for automated vehicles through the Law Commission. However, local laws are already in place in Germany that allow the use of automated vehicles on public roads.
Q. What more can be done to educate the public about the potential safety benefits of autonomous vehicles?
A. There needs to be far more public awareness about what is and isn’t an Automated Vehicle. Recent research by us, Euro NCAP and Global NCAP revealed worrying public misconceptions around Automated vehicles, with 71pc of people believing they could buy an automated vehicle today. This is not the case. No car on sale today is automated. The systems that are available are driver-assistance systems, and people need to understand that they must remain in full control at all times, and are liable (both from a legal and insurance view) in the case of collision.
To help with this, we have devised new test procedures to evaluate assisted-driving technologies with the publication last month of [evaluations of] 10 vehicles comparing their performance and functionality. The evaluations also consider carmaker marketing and online material, with evidence of misrepresentation and misnaming of systems, for example “autopilot”.
Q. Are clear safety standards the key to inspiring consumer confidence in driverless cars?
A. Drivers are confused with current driver-assistance functionalities, and in many case don’t trust or actively use them. Insurers want clear blue water between assistance and automated systems, so drivers are very clear about the functionality of their vehicle. Vehicle design should be distinctive enough with clear HMI controls so drivers understand their vehicle’s capability. While new laws governing automated vehicles are being developed by the UN in Geneva, it is likely that new Euro NCAP tests co-developed by Thatcham will play a bigger role in guiding consumers and ensure vehicle manufacturers ensure safety remains paramount.
Q. In your eyes, what is the biggest challenge facing industry as it tries to get autonomous vehicles on to UK roads?
A. Getting customers to see the benefit and invest in the technology will be the biggest blocker. Surveys looking at driver acceptance often show that drivers would like the occasion use of automation but would want to retain the ability to drive themselves. The economic argument for automation is unclear and while many drivers will be prepared to use such a system occasionally, most will not pay the £5-10k premium currently envisaged for the first-generation automated vehicles. There is also a risk that any high-profile crashes covered in the media may generate mistrust and leading to groups wanting a ban of the use of these systems in their communities – similar to the situation with GM crops. We must take the consumer on the journey. And that will take time. Interested in hearing more?
Matthew Avery will be speaking on how to effectively shift public misconceptions around autonomous vehicles alongside representatives from Latent Logic, Transport Research Laboratory and Transport Systems Catapult.
Book your ticket and join us at the Hilton London Bankside on 21 November for the Smart Mobility Summit to hear from Mr Avery and other leading autonomous vehicle experts. Shares