Although many people may not realize it, there is a call within the insurance industry and auto safety organizations to have autonomous cars on the road by 2020. Yet this proposes a massive shift in potential liability for drivers. The discussion around autonomous cars centers mainly around how they will provide so many safety benefits that they are in the best interest of the public. Let’s explore how these automobiles will affect your vehicle choices, safety and insurance options in the near future.
The Future of Autonomous Cars
The first misconception that is repeatedly pronounced is that these vehicles will take over our roadways as early as 2020. Somehow, within a span of just 4 years all our vehicles will be autonomous and there will be no need to bother with the physical act of driving anymore.
There are several reasons why this timeline simply will not happen. The first and foremost reason is that the discussion around insurance and legislation needed to have these vehicles on the road has not advanced very far. Autonomous car legislation truly is only in place in a few locations in the U.S., and only deals with allowing these vehicles on the road but not with the ‘fault’ of these driverless cars.
Secondly, the traditional automakers are still dragging their feet on the implementation of crash avoidance and other safety features as requested by the NHTSA, which shows that they may not be ready to fully embrace the option of driverless autonomous automobiles to the fullest extent by 2020 either. Although the commitment to automatic emergency braking was made by 10 automakers the actual implementation has been voluntary and diluted. Imagine if they were required to be liable and responsible for autonomous cars?
There is no doubt that the future includes more autonomy in driving, as it has been suggested that they could reduce auto fatalities by up to 90%, but are consumers ready to give up the thrill of the drive?
Auto Insurance Consequences
The second largest problem to be tackled in the area of driverless autonomous autos is the simple mechanics of insurance alluded to above. In the current system, you buy a vehicle and then buy insurance to cover you in accidents you cause or to protect yourself when hit by someone else.
However, this system is based primarily around the idea that ‘someone’ is eventually found to be at fault. If you are found at fault in an accident you pay a premium so you do not have to pay out of pocket the massive expenses related to property damage, injury claims for pain and suffering the medical expenses of the person you may have injured. In the end, your premiums may increase and you end up paying for the accident in the long run.
With an autonomous car however, the person that owns the car but never drives it is not ‘at fault’. These new cars will need a new way to be insured and consumers will not want to take responsibility for the technology of an automaker that failed. In this way, automakers will need to be the ones carrying insurance for their products. Yet to be sure, this increased cost will end up raising prices for vehicles.
With autonomous cars probably more like 20-30 years away, most consumers will still need to get the best possible price on car insurance that they can, right now. This website is dedicated to giving you an option for getting the best car insurance prices now. We can all worry about those insurance legalities as they arise, years from now.