Canadian Underwriter

Survey asks who should be liable when driverless vehicle hits pedestrian: AIG

October 3, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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More than four in five Americans surveyed believe that owners of fully driverless vehicles should have auto insurance and more than a third believe that safety issues will delay or prevent their widespread availability, a survey released Tuesday by American International Group Inc. suggests.

New York City-based AIG said its Autonomous Vehicle Insights study includes responses from 1,000 adults in the United States.

“On average,” respondents “think it will take 22 years for driverless vehicles with no active input from human drivers to represent more than 20 percent of the vehicles on the road and that it will take 34 years before the autos make up the majority of vehicles in the U.S.,” AIG said Oct. 3 in a release.

In the survey –  conducted  in partnership with McLaughlin & Associates and Pinkston Group – respondents “could select up to three options that they felt were the most significant factors delaying or preventing the wide availability of driverless vehicles.” More than half (55%) said costs will be too high and 41% said both that “computer systems won’t be adequately secured” and “people enjoy driving too much.” More than a third (35%) said they think driverless  vehicles will not be safe enough.

The results are considered to have an accuracy of plus or minus 3.1% at a 95% confidence interval. The survey was conducted Aug. 17 through 25.

Respondents were also asked for their views on who – vehicle owners, manufacturers and software providers – should be liable for accidents and how much liability they should have.

In a scenario “where a fully driverless vehicle strikes a pedestrian, respondents felt the automaker (50 percent) and software provider (37 percent) would be most liable,” AIG reported, adding that 23% of respondents “still see the vehicle’s occupant as having some form of liability,” while 19% said they think the owner should have some form of liability.

A majority (81%) “of respondents think individuals who purchase or ride in fully driverless vehicles should still be required to have auto insurance,” AIG said.

“There are many ways for the driverless vehicle story to unfold over the next several years,” stated Gaurav Garg, AIG’s chief executive officer of personal insurance, in a release. “It is critical for insurers to carefully watch the trend to help prepare clients – both consumers and businesses.”

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