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Gocompare.com comments on the government’s announcement that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads from January 2015

30 July 2014

Tom Lewis, Gocompare.com’s head of innovation and insight, said:

“The thought of a fully autonomous car without any driver controls may seem far-fetched right now but the widespread adoption of features such as traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and collision evasion, demonstrate just how close the technology is to being fully realised.

“The rise of technologically assisted driving will continue but it is important that governments, manufacturers and insurers work together to ensure that consumers remain protected.

“The trials of automated vehicles have so far indicated that there are potential safety and congestion management benefits but the question of liability in the event of a collision needs to be resolved. Will the owner of a driverless car need to obtain insurance, or will liability be held by the manufacturer?

“As these automated cars become more widely used and further demonstrate their improved safety we could also see a time where traditional drivers are penalised with higher premiums if they choose not to rely on a computer to drive for them. If that occurs, it will be even more important that they shop around to get the correct price and cover.”

Tom added: “It is clear that this technology is moving into the mainstream, and as an industry we have to move with the times and ensure that we have the right products and policies in place to safeguard our customers’ motoring future – automated or not.

“How driverless cars will affect the car insurance industry in the long run will largely depend on how we react to it now - ignoring it is not an option.”