The leader of Britain’s car-insurance industry, James Dalton, has downplayed the introduction of self-driving cars saying that he “doesn’t think the term exists.”
Speaking at a conference in London organised by Volvo and the insurance industry’s Thatcham Research, Dalton, the boss of trade body ABI's car insurance division, questioned whether the vision of driverless cars by 2025 was realistic because so many complex problems are yet to be solved.
"I don’t like the term driverless car because I don’t think it exists. At least in the long-term a car is going to need a fit, alert and sober driver," he said.
Dalton believes the government will struggle to create a new regulatory framework capable of completely downplaying the role of a driver.
The DfT is currently consulting with the insurance and car industries on how to introduce driverless and cars, with a date of 2018 set to allow ‘autopilot control’ in which a driver will be able to take his/her hands off the steering wheel for just two minutes.
Experts at the conference suggest 2025 as the year when a car will be able to driver-itself door-to-door, without as yet specifying whether the driver will be able to cease any form of control.
One of the attractions for the insurance industry of autonomous cars is the possible enormous reduction of accidents, predicted by Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research. He predicts that there will be 80% fewer crashes in 10 years time.
"Autonomous driving will be the biggest revolution in vehicle safety-ever. Full-stop," said Shaw.