The period between the proposed rollouts of semi-autonomous cars in 2018 and fully autonomous cars in 2025 will present drivers with a huge challenge to stay safe and remain within the law, says Autocar
“Automation could be the biggest breakthrough in road safety since the invention of the seatbelt and insurers fully support its development. However, we need to get there safely,” said James Dalton. Already, some manufacturers, such as Audi, BMQ, Mercedes, Tesla, and Volvo, are selling cars with “autopilot” features. More are expected to follow this motor trend as technology advances.
Dalton is a New Zealander working as the director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers. He previously held posts at the Treasury Solicitors Department and the Ministry of Economic Development.
Dalton told Autocar
, that with the growth of features, such as automatic braking and lane assistance systems, drivers may be lulled into a false sense of security that they can relax while their car takes charge. He also opined, that in the short-term future, the term “driverless cars” itself is misleading and potentially dangerous. “Unless, a vehicle is fully automated and able to respond appropriately in an emergency, drivers still have to be ready to take back control at a moment’s notice,” Dalton said.
The insurer representative expressed that while insurers support advances in automated vehicles in hopes that there are fewer people injured or killed in road accidents; he believes that vehicles should be operated by trained, competent, and sober drivers, at least until the very long-term.
By 2018, a number of cars are expected to operate on systems that allow drivers to drive without using their hands and feet for up to three minutes in motorways. By 2021, cars in fully autonomous mode are expected to be able to make entire motorway journeys without any input from the driver. And in 2025, cars are expected to do entire journeys with the driver’s only action is to set the destination.