New insurance legislation that will require a passenger and their autonomous car to be covered under the same policy is being introduced in Britain today.
The measures come as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill and aim to simplify the insurance process for passengers and insurers before driverless cars become popular.
Using a single policy places more pressure on manufacturers and software developers for autonomous vehicles because they will be liable to pay compensation in the event of an accident.
The UK Government has prioritised consumers in the process in order to speed up access to compensation after an incident.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “We must ensure the public is protected in the event of an incident and today we are introducing the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies.”
Insurance firm AXA's UK head of underwriting, David Williams, added: “This is a positive step forward that provides clarity to insurers to ensure we design our products appropriately. It keeps protection of the general public at its heart, which we hope will encourage early adoption of some really impressive technology.”
Also included in today’s bill are measures focused on improving access to electric car charging points. They will emphasise the need for the correct infrastructure and could force locations such as motorway service stations and large fuel retailers to provide electric chargers and hydrogen filling points.
Minister of state for transport John Hayes said: “I recognise that to encourage more drivers to go electric, the infrastructure needs to become even more widespread than the 11,000 charging points already in place and more straightforward. We are determined to do all we can to make electric vehicles work for everyone and these new laws will help make this a reality.”
The UK Government’s focus on autonomous and electric cars comes as part of its push to make the country a world leader in the industry. It launched the Go Ultra Low Cities programme in 2015, which has spawned projects such as the UK’s first all-electric vehicle (EV) showroom, which will open in Milton Keynes this spring.
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