Gus Park, managing director of motor insurance at Direct Line, expects the price of insuring cars driven by a human to increase
Jim Holder
30 March 2017

Driving could become 'a luxury pursuit' in an era of autonomous vehicles, according to Gus Park, managing director of motor insurance at Direct Line.

Talking at the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders' (SMMT) Connected Cars summit, Park suggested that he expected getting behind the wheel and taking control of your car to be marginalised as a result of associated costs, including the insurance premiums required to do so in a society dominated by autonomous vehicles.

Is the car-buying public ready for autonomy?

“If you drive a car into an autonomous environment and take the wheel, making it a mixed environment, it gets pretty complicated,” he said. “With the future so unclear, it's hard to make predictions, but I can imagine driving becoming an increasingly luxury pursuit.”

Park was joined by Dr George Gillespie, CEO of Horuba MIRA and Dr Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing for BMW, in suggesting that the onset of fully autonomous cars would not lead to end of driving for enthusiasts, however.

Gillespie said: “Maybe I’m not looking far enough ahead, but I can’t see a time when driving is banned. I can see a time in ten years or so when there are controlled environments where only autonomous cars can go - in cities or special zones set up for it, for instance - but I can’t see there being a blanket ban.”

Robertson added: “BMWs will always have a steering wheel. There will be times when you’d rather a car drove itself, such as in traffic, but there will also be times when you want to experience the thrill of driving yourself, and we intend to always offer that option.”

Read more:

BMW iNext to benefit from £12bn autonomous car tech deal

BMW i driverless tech to reach wider range from 2021

Our Verdict

BMW i8
The BMW i8 joins the i3 as part of the firm's 'i' range of vehicles

Can BMW's baby hypercar blow the lid off performance convention?

Join the debate

Comments
13

30 March 2017
I am so glad i am 57. What a dreary world ahead

30 March 2017
Disagree completely. I'm looking forward to my car driving me to work in reduced traffic jams in the week. At the weekend I can still thrash my 'classic' 2017 Ducati 1299 past a load of cars that just brake and move out of my way as their software sees me and defaults to safety avoid mode, unlike the old drivers who never see me now!!

 

 

 

30 March 2017
Fantastic bike! Saw it on Top Gear last Sunday. Enjoy!

30 March 2017
Grubby quick-rich capitalist scumbags like those in the insurance industry only care about profit, so we shouldn't be surprised that a managing director of a car insurance firm said the price of insuring cars is likely to increase. What really floats their boats (or super-yachts) are autonomous vehicles! They can't wait for these "uncrashable cars" to hit the roads because autonomous vehicles owners will still be forced to have insurance, resulting in less claims and MUCH more profit.

30 March 2017
was insurance actually going to decrease or stay the same? i didn't think so either. the extra equipment of an autonomous car will make it more expensive to repair, putting the price up. un-automated cars are going to be alleged more likely to be crashed, putting the price up. if the autonomous systems actually work properly then a few people driving themselves on roads full of automation shouldn't actually make any difference, if anything wouldn't that be safer than now where we have most cars being driven conventionally, with a few autopilot teslas dotted about?

30 March 2017
was insurance actually going to decrease or stay the same? i didn't think so either. the extra equipment of an autonomous car will make it more expensive to repair, putting the price up. un-automated cars are going to be alleged more likely to be crashed, putting the price up. if the autonomous systems actually work properly then a few people driving themselves on roads full of automation shouldn't actually make any difference, if anything wouldn't that be safer than now where we have most cars being driven conventionally, with a few autopilot teslas dotted about?

30 March 2017
has anyone ever covered the minor issue of how computers can occasionally crash/freeze up? not necessarily due to a software problem, but a hardware failure, or similar. what happens if this happens with an automated car?

31 March 2017
russ13b wrote:

has anyone ever covered the minor issue of how computers can occasionally crash/freeze up? not necessarily due to a software problem, but a hardware failure, or similar. what happens if this happens with an automated car?

The car comes to a stop to be towed away?

31 March 2017
I have had a few drinks. I press a button to summon my car to the front of the restaurant, which then drives me home. It's like having a chauffeur for free. I'll also enjoy reduced insurance by ticking a box saying that my car will only be driven in automated mode.

TS7

31 March 2017
It would be cheaper to take a taxi everywhere, and not bother buying a car in the first place.

abkq wrote:

I have had a few drinks. I press a button to summon my car to the front of the restaurant, which then drives me home. It's like having a chauffeur for free. I'll also enjoy reduced insurance by ticking a box saying that my car will only be driven in automated mode.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK