Data sharing critical to future of autonomous cars

November 23, 2016

Insurers are calling for OEMs to share data from autonomous cars so they can establish blame following accidents.

If a car can be driven either autonomously or by the driver, then data will be critical if there is an accident to establish who was in charge at the time – the car or the driver.

Peter Shaw, chief executive at Thatcham Research, said: ‘Future legislation needs to protect the consumer so that in the event of an accident, responsibility and who pays can be quickly determined.

‘Was it driver error or a failure of the automated driving system? This can only happen if the insurer has access to key data about the crash. We would like to see car manufacturers and legislators working together with the insurance industry to develop a framework to make this happen.’

UK insurers already have a standard set of data they would like carmakers to share, which they want agreed at an international level. This would be automatically accessible in the event of an accident involving an autonomous car.

The data would identify whether the vehicle was operating autonomously or not, and what technology was in use, to establish if the car was at fault and whether any systems failed.

Data would cover a period from 30 seconds before any incident to 15 seconds afterwards.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that if a technology fault causes a crash, insurers should be able to recover the costs from the manufacturer.

ABI director general Huw Evans said: ‘We are backing the development of automated cars and [as part of this commitment] there will need to be basic data easily available to make sure customers are looked after if something goes wrong.’

Autovista Intelligence’s Autonomous Car report warns that manufacturers will have to assess how they will protect themselves against the costs of lifetime liability for product failures as technology develops.

As well as determining what data they will need to collect and how it will be managed, each time a vehicle is sold, OEMs will need to inform new and used car buyers what data is collected on the car and how it is used.

More on autonomous cars…

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