Failing to update autonomous car will invalidate insurance

Failing to update autonomous car will invalidate insurance
Failing to update autonomous car will invalidate insurance

Motorists who don’t keep their self-driving car’s software up to date could invalidate their insurance under the latest plans set out by the Government.

Looking towards a future where most cars are autonomous, the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which received its first reading in the House of Commons last week, sets out when an insurer will and will not be liable for accidents involving self-driving vehicles.

According to the Bill, drivers will be liable for any damages in an accident caused by them either failing to complete “safety-critical” software updates or making “prohibited” alterations to the car’s software.

The Bill also states that insurers won’t be liable for any accident caused by a driver guilty of “negligence in allowing the vehicle to begin driving itself when it was not appropriate to do so.”

The issue of liability has been one of the major talking points around the adoption of autonomous vehicles and insurers have welcomed the approach set out in the Bill.

Ben Howarth, senior adviser for motor and liability at the Association of British Insurers, said: “Insurers are helping the UK become a global leader in autonomous vehicles. These vehicles have the potential to dramatically improve road safety and it’s great to see the Government’s on-going commitment to taking forward the legislation needed to get them onto our roads.

“The planned approach to insuring autonomous vehicles should keep the process as straightforward as possible for consumers, and is based on proposals made by the industry.”

The Bill also sets out proposals to help improve the provision of charging points for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Under its proposals large fuel retailers will have to provide public charging points alongside their regular fuel supplies in an effort to speed up the adoption of low-emissions vehicles.

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