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  • Driverless cars

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  • Helping the UK to become a world leader in driverless technology

    AXA is proud to be a partner in two of the three driverless cars projects funded by the Government - Venturer in Bristol and UK Autodrive in Milton Keynes. We are a progressive company and we are always looking for innovative solutions to help society deal with new and emerging risks.

    We understand that the integration of semi-autonomous, highly autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles into the UK motor market has the potential to disrupt and fundamentally alter the current motor insurance model but at the same time transform society for the better.

    We want to help enable technological advancement that has the possibility to reduce the number of collisions, reduce congestion and offer transport solutions to the elderly and disabled.

  • The Venturer Consortium will begin trialing BAE Systems Wildcat 4x4 on our roads

    Through our involvement in these projects, we hope to gain an understanding of the risk modelling that will be necessary to underwrite insurance policies for cars with higher levels of automation by, for example, exploring the issues of where liability will fall during the use of such vehicles.

    David Williams, Managing Director of Underwriting at AXA UK points out:
    "Whilst we see autonomous vehicles as a massive step forward in terms of road safety, motor vehicle accidents will still happen and we will need to be able to determine who or what was at fault - the driver or the car."

    Paul Evans, AXA UK CEO, speaking at the ABI Motor Conference 2014 highlighted the ways that AXA will contribute to these projects:
    "Already we can assume that there will be different insurance needs to cover personal, product and perhaps even infrastructure liability. As cars become connected and autonomous, cyber risk will take on a whole new dimension! We play a significant role in society by allowing people to manage the risk in their lives and mitigate the damage if something goes wrong. As innovation impacts their lives and the risks they face, so must we innovate too."

    Becoming a partner in these innovative projects allows us to continue to offer protection and peace of mind to our customers, whilst being at the forefront of technological advancement in the UK.

  • Insurance for semi autonomous and driverless cars - Frequently asked questions

    The benefits from driverless cars could be tremendous, but without the right people involved introduction could be delayed or beset with problems. We are a forward looking company and believe that the integration of semi-autonomous, highly autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles into the UK motor market has the potential to disrupt and fundamentally alter the current motor insurance model. Not only that, but AXA understands the safety, social and environment benefits that such vehicles may have and want to be an enabler to technological innovation that can improve our customers’ lives. We are proud to be involved in what we think will become a true game changer and will do everything we can to assist in getting the obvious benefits out to people in the UK.
    We know that the vast majority of accidents are caused by human error. So if, as widely predicted, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles reduce the number of collisions then motor premiums would absolutely reflect that. Some of the predictions of savings are tremendous and entirely credible when you see that autonomous emergency braking systems alone produce reductions of 15% in accidents and 18% in related injuries. This is another reason why it is essential insurers like AXA are involved in these trials, so we can understand fully the implications going forward and ensure there is no delay in these savings being passed on to our customers.

    The legal position here is anything but certain, and even in specific states of the US where they have legalized the use of driverless cars and passed specific legislation, there is still a lack of clarity in this regard. To determine whether the driver or the car is at fault at the time of a collision we would need to be able to determine who was in control of the vehicle at the time. Therefore, the sensors and telematics that will be part of the car must be able to satisfy this question and accurately record when the car enters semi-autonomous mode or when the driver takes back control. Currently there are numerous different possibilities and conflicting legal precedent, so this area will be a key focus of the work we do with the consortium.

    It will also be important to consider who owns and has access to that information and how it will be made available to insurance companies and the courts when they consider liability.

    There will still be a need for Insurance in a driverless’ world, but it will likely look very different to the current position. The insurance solution for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles is likely to include elements of personal liability, which is the case now, and product liability when software and technology is in control of the vehicle. Whether these are combined in one product or purchased separately by the owner / manufacturer is one of the things we need to consider. The closer we work with technology companies and car manufacturers the more we will be able to understand what these cars are capable of and what risks need to be insured against. As we build up data the future of car insurance will become clearer.

    We will also need to consider the different legal and insurance requirements for different types of vehicles. The Road Traffic Act will need to be amended to allow for semi-automated and automated cars to be on the roads but the existing law will need to be maintained as long as current vehicles remain.

    With this work being at such an early stage it is impossible to put a number on it. Morgan Stanley have estimated overall global financial savings at $5.6 Trillion (£3.7 Trillion), savings coming not just from reduced accidents but productivity improvements and lower fuel costs which aligns well with our corporate social responsibility agenda here at AXA. This clearly is an initiative well worth insurers and other stakeholders giving highest priority and doing whatever they can to help move developments forward.
  • More about driverless cars

    Venturer project

    The Venturer consortium will trial autonomous vehicles in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire council areas to explore the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK. The project will investigate the legal and insurance aspects of driverless cars and explore how the public react to such vehicles.

    UK Autodrive

    UK Autodrive is a three year programme led by engineering and consultancy firm, Arup. The consortium - which includes forward thinking local authorities, the UK’s leading technology and automotive businesses and academic institutions - will develop autonomous vehicle technologies and integrate driverless vehicles into existing urban environment.