The changing nature of liability

The VENTURER project is a fascinating one to be involved in. As we have said before, we understand that autonomous technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety as well as impact positively on other areas of society. This is why we want to play our part in enabling driverless vehicles to be on UK roads in the near future.

Yes, the nature of motor insurance will be drastically altered. However, there is no doubt that there will still be a need for motor insurance, but it will not be as we know it today.

Our first annual report looks at the changing nature of liability on the road as more grades of autonomous vehicles enter the market and the projected timetable for full automation to evolve onto UK roads. A key issue addressed by the report is defining liability and understanding who or what is responsible in the event of a motor incident. This is a critical element of AXA’s role in the VENTURER project, relating to how liability is shared between driver and the manufacturer of the autonomous vehicle, particularly how this alters for autonomous and non-autonomous modes.

Looking forward we will be analysing the data that is produced from the first VENTURER trial which is focussed on the handover period from human to vehicle and back again. By understanding this crucial element we will continue to work towards an understanding of the risk modelling that will likely be needed to underwrite insurance policies for cars with higher levels of automation.


Authored by: Daniel O’Byrne – Public Affairs Manager, AXA UK