Long the stuff of science-fiction, driverless cars are becoming an inevitability with most major motor and technology firms testing their early models as they prepare to hit the mass market in the next few years. However these self-driving vehicles won’t just change the way we get from A to B – they also promise to have an impact upon how we insure our cars as well.
While modern cars are packed with computer technology, including satellite navigation, Bluetooth speakers and more, most of this acts as either a driving or entertainment aid. With self-driving cars, computing technology will be at the very heart of the driving experience, with vehicle completely reliant on it to complete their journey safely. This increased reliance on computer technology opens vehicles up to new risks, necessitating the need for a different type of insurance.
AXA Insurance technical director David Williams has said that driverless cars will need to protect against cyber-attacks, creating the need for a cyber insurance policy to compliment traditional motor insurance.
Going forward, motorists who use driverless cars may very well have to insure themselves against the risk of hackers remotely stealing their vehicles or taking control of them, in much the same way that they hack into computer systems and servers to disable websites and steal business information. Perhaps more worryingly, hackers could potentially take control of cars with passengers inside and demand ransom payments before releasing them.
Situations like this are simply not accounted for by conventional motor insurance policies, which would mean they would need a dramatic retooling in the future, to take potential cyber risks into account. Because of this, it’s very likely that motorists purchasing driverless cars will also need to take out a cyber insurance policy to ensure that they’re protected before they take to the road.