Lloyds is questioning whether driverless cars will shift the need for insurance away from consumers and towards manufacturers.
Autonomous, or driverless, cars navigate using sophisticated technologies and as most road accidents are caused by human error, the technology could change the way insurance is bought and sold for consumers and manufacturers.
In the US, where the state of Nevada is the first to have licensed autonomous cars, analyst Celent is predicting that driverless cars could contribute to reducing motor premiums by up to 80% within 10 years, Lloyds reports.
Meanwhile, the roll-out of driverless cars could also expose manufacturers to new risks.
For example, who is liable when a driverless car collides with a driven car, or when a driverless car lane is poorly designed?
One solution may involve a transition period in which existing policies will have to be extended, and new kinds of policies will be created.
Nevada’s driverless cars rules came into effect on 1st March 2012, making it possible for companies such as Google and Mercedes-Benz and maybe General Motors to test their robot cars on the state’s 26,000 miles of highway.
When Bruce Breslow, the director of Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles, was invited to test one of Google’s driverless vehicles, he commented: “I sat in the back seat first, looking at the laptop that shows what the vehicle is seeing, my apprehension disappeared after about five seconds.
“Once I felt confident that the car could see better than I could, they allowed me to get behind the wheel.”