Date
18 December 2017
Greater automation would put the onus on manufacturers in case of accidents caused by software glitches, says insurers. Photo: Reuters
Greater automation would put the onus on manufacturers in case of accidents caused by software glitches, says insurers. Photo: Reuters

Autonomous cars seen shifting insurance liability toward makers

Hacker attacks or faulty software could shift the burden of legal and regulatory liability toward makers of self-driving cars and away from customers, Reuters reported.

Autonomous cars have the potential to reduce the rate of traffic accidents as sensors and software give a car faster and better reflexes to prevent a collision.

However, a greater level of automation increases the need for cyber security and sophisticated software, the report cited experts as saying.

“Although accident rates will theoretically fall, new risks will come with autonomous vehicles,” Domenico Savarese, an executive with Zurich Insurance, told Reuters.

While established models for assigning liability — such as holding the owner responsible for what the car does — will still be relevant, the onus may shift toward manufacturers.

However, Savarese added that increased liability is unlikely to deter carmakers, given that customers are demanding more self-driving functions.

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