Identifying who is at fault in an autonomous vehicle crash has already proven to be a challenge for law makers around the world.
We have seen blame pointed at owners, drivers, manufacturers and programmers with each believing they have a valid defence.
According to a co-founder of autonomous vehicle developer, Oxbotica, the answer may lie in giving control of autonomous insurers.
In an interview with Technology Review, Oxbotica co-founder Paul Newton said that insurers could analyse the data presented to them from autonomous vehicles and use that information to alter vehicle routes or speeds based on potential hazards or obstacles.
“When these vehicles are running, they're doing mathematics – the outputs of which are probabilities about things, on which decisions are made.
“Insurers can adjust the envelope to control the risk on the policy. The autonomy system has insurance built into it that allows it to control risk over a fleet.”
Newman suggests that making this change would enable lawmakers to open up testing restrictions on autonomous cars because of the added expertise of risk assessors from insurance companies involved in decision making.
Oxbotica already has a partnership with insurance company XL Catlin in order to help develop autonomous technology in tests around the UK.
XL Catlin Driven project leader Adrian Copland said that insurers could help in making autonomous vehicles a commercial reality.
“While autonomous vehicles are on of the most complex use cases of connected ecosystems in the world, I believe society will hugely benefit from them, providing insurers help make it a commercial – and insurable – reality.”