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Three out of four drivers say driverless insurance should cover hacking

A total of 74% of drivers think insurers should provide cover for damage caused by hackers accessing control systems in driverless cars.

IAM RoadSmart car hacking image

74% of drivers want insurance to cover against hackers, finds IAM RoadSmart

That’s according to a survey of nearly 1,200 people carried out by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart as it responds to the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles’ consultation, Pathway to Driverless Cars.

A total of 46% think the proposal that insurers must include cover for driverless cars in their new policies is a good idea. However, when asked whether they’d still agree if this adds to the cost of insurance for all drivers, with 68% said no, versus 23% who agreed.

Those surveyed were largely not in favour of driver assistance systems being able to take over from the driver. When asked if they agreed with amending Highway Code rule 150, ‘do not rely on driver assistance systems’, 55% said no compared to 35% who said yes.

And when it comes to self-driving cars manoeuvring themselves with no occupant in the car, those surveyed were vehemently against changing the rules to allow it.

When asked if the Highway Code rules (which currently say that you should be in full control of a vehicle and switch off the engine when you are not in it) should be changed to allow a car to park itself, just 6% supported this statement strongly. Some 13% supported it, but 69% didn’t support it at all.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “In our view it is logical that hacking electronic systems in autonomous vehicles is treated the same way as a traditionally stolen vehicle, with the insurer bearing the cost. This will be an important way of developing consumer confidence around one element of the plethora of questions driverless cars pose.

“Driverless cars are a very new proposition for many and views towards them are mixed. Previous research we have carried out shows that road users are by and large excited about their development. But they still have concerns about responsibility, especially when it comes down to liability.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.