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

Delayed trailer test law changes come into force
Mitsubishi L200 - tow
News

Delayed trailer test law changes come into force

You no longer need to take an extra test to tow a trailer, irrespective of when you passed your driving test
17 Dec 2021
Gridserve announces raft of new motorway electric car charging hubs
Gridserve Electric Forecourt 3
News

Gridserve announces raft of new motorway electric car charging hubs

Gridserve planning a total of 20 Electric Hubs and six Electric Forecourts, with 13 sites already under construction
9 Dec 2021
Stellantis plans huge revenues with new software-driven cars
Fiat 500 dash
News

Stellantis plans huge revenues with new software-driven cars

Stellantis says it’ll rake in more than €20 billion in annual revenues by 2030 thanks to its new technology and subscription services
7 Dec 2021
Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know
Executive saloons make popular company cars
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know

Company car tax is bound up in a complex net of emissions, salaries and a car's value; we explain how the system looks for the 2021/22 Financial Year
26 Nov 2021

Most Popular

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
Ross Hollis at perfectlyprintedplates.com
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
10 Jan 2022
New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time
Lamborghini Countach - front
Lamborghini Countach

New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time

Lamborghini’s reborn Countach pictured on the move ahead of it arriving with customers
25 Jan 2022