Police Insure Blog

Cars of the Future - Who Needs a Driver?

Not so many years ago the idea of driverless cars zipping along the country's roads was the stuff of science fiction. Recent developments in the USA, however, are turning fiction into fact. Google engineer Sebastian Thrun and his team of specialists at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Nevada have produced a saloon car capable of navigating the state's roads without the need for human intervention.

New laws introduced in Nevada in June 2011 legalised the use of driverless vehicles and the first licence was issued in May 2012 to a Toyota Prius fitted with Google's experimental driverless technology. Other vehicles, including Audi and Lexus models, have since been licensed and the fleet has now completed over 300,000 miles on roads across Nevada, California and Florida. During these trials there have been just 2 minor collisions - One taking place while the researcher sat behind the wheel was tempoarily in control and one when a stationary Prius was hit from behind by a manned vehicle.

The good safety record of driverless cars was to be expected as 80% of road collisions are caused by driver error. As technology improves, the number of incidents caused by mechanical failure continues to decrease, so can we look forward to a future without the human suffering and financial cost caused by traffic accidents?

Whatever the future may hold in terms of improved road safety, the situation is already creating a dilemma for insurance companies. Licences for the new vehicles are issued to the car, not to a driver, so should the same principle apply to vehicle insurance? If so, how should premiums be calculated? What are the risk factors? Will vehicle insurance, as we know it, become a thing of the past? The Chief Attorney for California's Department of Motor Vehicle Licensing recently said "The technology is ahead of the law in many areas and is advancing so quickly that it is in danger of outstripping existing legislation, much of which dates back to the era of the horse drawn carriage."

If you are tempted to up-grade to a driverless car with a view to a reduction in your insurance premiums then think carefully. The cost of the driverless technology equipment adds £180,000 to the price of the basic Toyota Prius, so you are unlikely to be enjoying a robotic, chauffeur driven ride home from the pub anytime soon.

If, however, you are a police officer, special constable or member of police staff (serving or retired) or the partner of any of these you can already benefit from some of the best deals available on car and motorcycle insurance, typically up to 40% cheaper than our competitors.

For a free quote call 0161 762 4416 or go to www.policeinsure.co.uk. You'll be amazed how much YOU can save!




Written by David Griffin at 00:00