The Association of British Insurers is calling vehicle makers and the Government to give greater clarity around the capability of vehicles sold with technology that takes on some driving tasks.
Along with Thatcham Research they are warning that the use of the word “autonomous” in car manufacturer marketing and literature is “lulling drivers into a false sense of security”. They say a new testing regime to assess the functionality of driver assistance systems will mark down potentially misleading names and dangerous functionality.
James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the ABI, said, “Insurers are major supporters of efforts to get assisted and autonomous vehicles onto the UK’s roads. Given the part human error plays in the overwhelming majority of accidents, these technologies have the potential to dramatically improve road safety. However, we are a long way from fully autonomous cars which will be able to look after all parts of a journey and in the meantime, it remains crucial that all drivers are alert and ready to take back full control at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers must be responsible in how they describe and name what their vehicles can do, and the insurance industry is ready to hold them to account on this.”
They say other key elements of their test will be to study manufacturers’ promotional literature and driving manuals to find out how clearly the systems’ capabilities and drivers’ responsibilities are explained, to see how drivers cope with enabling, activating, operating and deactivating the systems, assess what happens when the driver is required to take back control, whether routinely or in an emergency and asking if the technology always complies with the law, for example adjusting to local speed limits.