Increasingly smart cities may be left paying for autonomous vehicles collisions

Published: November 15, 2018

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Autonomous vehicle technology is increasingly being implemented in vehicles, but one day we will experience fully autonomous cars that require no human input. Drivers will be relegated to mere passengers and cars will be fully connected with smart cities of the future.

While many predict this eventuality will happen, it is not predicted for several decades. Even so, the insurance industry is tackling how liability will work within the autonomous vehicle area, from current limited autonomy to the fully functional self-driving cars of the future. In the latter, some experts predict cities may be on the hook for liability.

Among the smart city integrations that could become common are V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle communication) and V2X (vehicle-to-infrastructure communication). An example will be a car interacting directly with traffic lights and being told when to stop and go.

This raises a question, which was addressed by Sami Shaker, physicist and client relations manager with Kodsi Forensic Engineering, in a recent interview with Canadian Underwriter.

“The city could potentially be on the hook, where traditionally you are just going after the driver. Now you could be going after the car [and insurer], and potentially the city, if you can show through data that somehow the infrastructure communicated with that vehicle and told it to go on through.”

Shaker is a scheduled speaker at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) Convention in October, where he will present a session titled The Driverless Frontier.