Different levels of autonomous car tech are confusing motorists say insurers

The insurance industry is concerned that drivers may not understand the distinction between autonomous and semi-autonomous systems

Mercedes E-Class 2016 - autonomous drive

The car insurance industry has warned manufacturers against potentially confusing car buyers with different levels of driverless car tech on board new cars which could result in a higher numbers of accidents.

The Automated Driving Insurer Group (ADIG), led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in collaboration with Thatcham Research has launched a white paper highlighting the industry’s concerns over drivers being confused by different levels of autonomous driving tech on board new cars.

There are six different levels of vehicle autonomy, with level 0 offering no self-driving tech, and level 5 being fully autonomous cars. It’s the middle levels that worry insurers, as there are concerns drivers may not be fully aware of when to take back control from the car. Most manufacturers now offer some form of autonomy as part of their line-up. 

• Autonomous car levels: the steps to your car driving itself explained

The paper suggests that manufacturers start clearly labelling different levels of autonomy in their cars and explain the differences to drivers. It’s also calling on regulators to consider new design standards for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. The insurance industry also wants instant access to the car’s data following incidents to determine whether the driver or the vehicle was liable for the accident. 

Peter Shaw, CEO of Thatcham Research said: “Vehicles with intermediate systems that offer assisted driving still require immediate driver intervention if the car cannot deal with a situation. Systems like these are fast emerging and unless clearly regulated, could convince drivers that their car is more capable than it actually is. This risk of autonomous ambiguity could result in a short term increase in crashes.” 

Tesla hits back at German regulators who say 'Autopilot' is misleading

Shaw added: "Vehicle manufacturers should be judicious in badging and marketing such systems, avoiding terms which could be misinterpreted as denoting full autonomy. Hybrid systems which creep into the intermediate grey area between Assisted and Automated should also be avoided." 

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at ABI said: “The insurance industry strongly supports the development of automated driving technology – which we see as the logical conclusion to work over several decades to reduce the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the roads.

“However, we know all too well from conventional vehicles that drivers often misunderstand what their vehicles can and can’t do. Therefore, consistent standards are needed so that those taking up automated driving technology can do so with confidence.”

Do you know the differences between all of the different levels of autonomy? Tell us in the comments below... 

Recommended

Treasury eyes up road pricing to plug £30bn fuel-duty gap
News

Treasury eyes up road pricing to plug £30bn fuel-duty gap

The UK’s Petrol and diesel car ban will bring with it huge losses for the Treasury as fuel-duty revenue dries up; road pricing looks set to be the sol…
17 Nov 2020
Road bosses approve 138 miles of new smart motorway with no hard shoulder
smart motorway
News

Road bosses approve 138 miles of new smart motorway with no hard shoulder

Nine new sections of all-lane running smart motorway are set to open despite concerns over the lack of a hard shoulder
9 Nov 2020
Fiat-Chrysler faces £5bn UK lawsuit over defeat devices
Fiat Doblo 2015 - steering wheel
Fiat

Fiat-Chrysler faces £5bn UK lawsuit over defeat devices

Around half a million FCA-engined vehicles in England and Wales could be affected by diesel emissions scandal, says law firm
27 Oct 2020
Dash cam portal saves 170,000 hours of police time in two years
News

Dash cam portal saves 170,000 hours of police time in two years

Nextbase's National Dash Cam Safety Portal is used by 33 police forces and has recorded more than 20,000 uploads
21 Oct 2020

Most Popular

New Audi A6 50 TFSI e 2020 review
Audi A6

New Audi A6 50 TFSI e 2020 review

The new Audi A6 50 TFSI e brings plug-in hybrid power to the A6 range for the first time
10 Nov 2020
New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class luxury limo unveiled
Mercedes S-Class

New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class luxury limo unveiled

The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class has made its official debut, with lashings of technology and even more imposing styling
19 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020