New Driverless Car Bill Introduced in U.K.

March 8, 2017 | Anna-Marie Musson

A new Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill has been introduced in the U.K. to address  some of the challenges arising with use of autonomous vehicles and which traditional insurance policies cannot respond to.

The Bill provides  comprehensive insurance coverage to injured persons (including the driver) and damage to property (although not necessarily to the autonomous vehicle).  First party coverage will be available for fatalities, personal injury and damage.

Insurers will have the right to recover from any other responsible parties, including manufacturers, hackers who may gain control of the vehicle and anyone who services the vehicle.

There is an exclusion for coverage if the driver was negligent for altering the operating system or failure to install software updates.  Other negligence issues are likely to result in exclusions such as engaging the driverless mode when it is not appropriate.

The Bill is silent on the collection and usage of the data from the autonomous vehicle.

The U.K. Bill provides a preview of issues arising with autonomous vehicles and possible legislative responses.

The 2016 Canadian federal budget provided $7.3-million over two years to develop a regulatory framework for emerging technology including autonomous vehicles.  Eight states in the U.S. have enacted driverless vehicle legislation.   Ontario is the only province actively working with organizations to take part in a pilot project for autonomous vehicles and has approved testing on public roadways.

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