Could self-driving cars put your business at risk?

A growing number of companies are adopting - or thinking about adopting - driverless technology to enhance their operations. While it might seem like the next logical step in technological improvement, could it actually be putting businesses at risk?

Aside from the perceived safety concerns, there's also business insurance to consider. Depending on the specifics of your policy, it's possible that any accidents that occur while using this technology might not be covered.

 

The prevalence of driverless technology

There's been no shortage of companies showing their support for self-driving vehicles. Perhaps the biggest name is Google, which has described the technology as being a means of getting everyone around safely, regardless of their level of driving skill.

          Extensive testing has been carried out in the US to make sure the safety features work in reality.

Another global company to recently have added its name to the list is Domino's. The pizza chain has revealed plans to carry out home deliveries using a driverless vehicle - or a four-wheeled robot called DRU.

The scheme is being rolled out in New Zealand, although the robot is still very much in the prototype stages. It is hoped that once complete, it will be able to interact with human beings and develop a persona that helps with engagement.

 

Overcoming regulatory hurdles

Both Google and Domino's have been keen to emphasise the safety features of their inventions. The search engine giant revealed that its cars come complete with sensors capable of detecting objects as far away as two football fields.

Extensive testing has been carried out in the US to make sure the safety features work in reality, with more than a million miles covered to date.

Domino's Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij said efforts are also underway to make sure its robots are as safety-conscious as possible.

"The possibility of DRU making an appearance in the trial and testing phase in New Zealand is very real, and is something we are excited about," he commented.

"We are working with the Ministry of Transport and the NZTA to ensure all relevant legislative requirements are met and we are pushing hard to get DRU on New Zealand roads in the near future."

 

Being risk-aware

Reports looking at the potential safety implications of driverless technology suggest that with many accidents caused by human error, there's real potential for these vehicles to minimise collisions on the nation's roads.

However the technology creates many interesting questions, particularly around responsiblity and liabilty for accidents.

- Who is responsible if the self-driving car hits something?

- What responsiblity will infrastructure providers have?

- What liability will equipment manufacturers hold?

- How much liability will vehicle owners have?

- How will insurance premiums be calculated?

 

Insurers and brokers are watching this space as the future of this technology plays out. 

If your company is hoping to embrace the future with self-driving cars, your broker will be able to update you on the implications and options for insurance.


Allan Henderson

About the Author

Name: Allan Henderson        

I’m the Leader - Business Development & Sales for Rothbury’s Wellington branch. I have over 20 years experience in the insurance industry and get a kick out of finding insurance solutions for my clients.

I enjoy leading and…
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I’m the Leader - Business Development & Sales for Rothbury’s Wellington branch. I have over 20 years experience in the insurance industry and get a kick out of finding insurance solutions for my clients.

I enjoy leading and developing people (including my 3 children although they may not appreciate my leadership skills at times – or ever for that matter) and am part of a really experienced team who have a lot of fun here in Wellington.

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Disclaimer: The articles published on this blog are designed to provide general information and do not take into account any individual’s particular circumstances. We recommend that you obtain professional advice on your requirements before making any decision about a financial product.
 


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