Driverless policies should cover hacking

The vast majority of drivers want insurers to provide cover for damage caused by hackers accessing control systems of driverless cars.

A survey by IAM RoadSmart of nearly 1,200 people found that 74% of respondents said they expected their insurance policies to cover hacking when it came to driverless cars. However, 68% said it shouldn’t increase the cost of their policies.

The results of this survey have been used to guide IAM RoadSmart’s response to the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles’ consultation, Pathway to Driverless Cars The research also found that those surveyed were largely not in favour of driver assistance systems being able to take over from the driver. When asked if they agreed with amending Highway Code rule 150, ‘do not rely on driver assistance systems’, 55% said no compared to 35% who said yes.

And when it comes to self-driving cars manoeuvring themselves with no occupant in the car, those surveyed were vehemently against changing the rules to allow it.

When asked if the Highway Code rules should be changed to allow a car to park itself, just six per cent supported this statement strongly. Some 13% supported it, but 69% didn’t support it at all.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said, ‘In our view it is logical that hacking electronic systems in autonomous vehicles is treated the same way as a traditionally stolen vehicle, with the insurer bearing the cost. This will be an important way of developing consumer confidence around one element of the plethora of questions driverless cars pose.

‘Driverless cars are a very new proposition for many and views towards them are mixed. Previous research we have carried out shows that road users are by and large excited about their development. But they still have concerns about responsibility, especially when it comes down to liability.’