9th May 2019

Science fiction becomes science fact: The development of autonomous cars

By Richard Murray
Account Executive, Private Clients
David Hasselhoff and Kitt

In 1982, David Hasselhoff burst onto the scene in everyone’s homes on a Saturday evening, driving around in an almost indestructible car called KITT, which, among many other attributes, could drive itself. Artificially intelligent, self-aware – the future of AI in motor vehicles was born and so many people wished they had a talking car that could drive them where they wanted to go, day or night.

Fast forward 37 years and no longer are we simply dreaming of this high-tech wizardry. Science fiction is now becoming science fact. Autonomous vehicles are a hot topic in the insurance industry and the technology is still in its relative infancy. That being said, many car manufacturers have already made huge strides towards partial and full autonomy, with certain tasks being performed by the car without the intervention of the driver including parking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control functions.

Part- autonomous, or more pressing, fully autonomous cars also bring certain concerns regarding the technology. Is the tech susceptible to cyber crime or terrorist activity? And how about the human factor?  Who is at fault in the event of an accident? The driver, the car manufacturer, or the company providing the technology? How does the insurance industry respond?

AI presents a morality question, as the judgement and behaviour of human drivers are hard to replicate. All interesting and currently unanswered questions. At present, there is no motor insurance policy currently available that provides cover for fully autonomous vehicles.

As a specialist home and motor broker, we’ll keep a close eye on the outcome and our clients updated. If you’re not insured with us but have questions about motor insurance, or would like a quotation, please call your Account Handler or Peter Seaman on 0207 543 2882.