State regulators are beginning to show more attention to insurance issues involving automaked vehicles
Self-driving cars could become more common in the future and this may have an impact on auto insurance. The California Department of Insurance is advising the state’s insurance companies to prepare for the eventual proliferation of automated vehicles. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has been gathering data about these vehicles and the technology behind them, hoping that insurers will use this data to adapt more quickly to a future where drivers are a thing of the past.
Google is working to bring automated vehicles to the market
Automated vehicles have been in development for several years now. Google is, perhaps, the most well known name behind such vehicles. The company often uses self-driving cars as part of its Maps initiative. Google has also been testing self-driving cars for various other purposes. The advent of driverless vehicles has created some questions that have not yet been addressed by insurers, but insurance companies will not be able to avoid these questions for much longer.
Auto insurance could change as self-driving cars become more common
According to Commissioner Jones, one of the most pressing insurance questions regarding self-driving cars is who would be liable when an automatic system is in control. Self-driving cars can operate on their own, but their automation can also be turned off, giving control of the vehicle to a person. There are other regulatory issues, of course, such as the handling of data that automated vehicle systems collect and how this information can and cannot be used by insurance companies.
Automakers have plans to begin testing or commercially release automated vehicles within the next few years
Google is not the only company testing self-driving cars. Tesla Motors, General Motors, and Nissan all have plans to test or introduce automated vehicles from 2016 through 2018. These vehicles are likely to be quite popular in California, which means that the auto insurance sector must be prepared to deal with the various issues relating to these vehicles. If insurers cannot adapt, they could find themselves running afoul of the state’s regulations.