AXA and Burges Salmon call for new standards to govern autonomous driving

The latest VENTURER report from insurer AXA and law firm Burges Salmon has revealed how new standards for vehicles that can switch between autonomous and human driving will be vital in deciding who is liable for an accident during the ‘handover’ period.

The Government’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill will eventually create a list of vehicles that will be considered ‘automated’, with liability to third parties falling on insurers. However, there will be many vehicles coming to market in the future which will allow the driver to ‘handover’ control to the vehicle and vice versa. This could create a grey area for liability, especially if an accident happens during the ‘handover’ between driver and vehicle.

The current law expects the driver to be responsible for the vehicle at all times. This creates issues if there is a time lag in the driver regaining effective control after the vehicle has been driving autonomously.

This report, the second in a series of three looking at insurance and legal aspects linked to the VENTURER trials, recommends that government and industry take account of the issues encountered by drivers during the handover phase. It calls for new standards that reflect the real-world capability of drivers and avoid stifling the development of automated vehicles by unfairly penalising motorists.  Manufacturers will need to design in safety and develop handover processes that reflect the reality of drivers’ capabilities.

Read the full report here: VENTURER Insurance and Legal Report 2017/18