Thursday, 31 May 2018 09:35

Insurance Hearing Shows Need for Autonomous Vehicles Data Access

Written by Brittney Kohler, CitiesSpeak


Geraci also noted that “regulated review and validation of rates and coverage requires insurers to provide state insurance regulators with extensive levels of actuarially valid data on crashes [and] their frequency and severity,” a task that might prove impossible without access to the crash data in AVs. Geraci continued that there has been widespread data collection on human drivers and their accidents, and it should be the same for AVs now.

The data that insurers want is just the crash data, and would “not include private data or confidential business [proprietary] data,” Geraci said.

Currently in the AV START Act, there is no requirement that data of any kind from AVs will be shared, even for crash data. Gillis pointed out that in the AV START Act---which would expand testing in order to get the technology into commercial use more quickly---“accident data is not being made available to the public, including insurers.”

Without such data, the insurers will be “left to guess [the levels of risk] or rely on the companies’ safety claims” added Gillis. 

Gammelgard noted that “any attempt to include data access provisions [has been] met with great resistance.” 

Gillis went on to say that it could be the role of the federal government to “ensure that crash data is made publicly available.”

Both Geraci and Gammelgard were supportive of the Inhofe amendment to the AV START Act that would create a Data Access Coalition to set up recommendations for a potential future data access structure. However, it would take two years to make recommendations even while AVs would continue to be put on the roads.

Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) asked the panel what steps are being taken to assess the safety of AVs before they are put on the road since they are “not required to submit safety assessment letters to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” to which Geraci answered that the “[data is needed] to understand safety performance.” Rep. Sherman seemed open to the idea of the federal government having a role in ensuring that data, saying that “maybe Congress ought to help with requirements that you get that data.”