...90% of all crashes are caused by human error.
“Building self-driving cars that drive as well as people do is a big challenge in itself,” added IIHS Research Scientist Alexandra Mueller, lead author of the study. “But they’d actually need to be better than that to deliver on the promises we’ve all heard.”
As part of the study, IIHS referenced a widely-publicized 2018 fatal accident in which a driverless Uber failed to quickly recognize a pedestrian walking on the side of the road at night in Tempe, AZ. Elaine Herzberg, 49, proceeded to cross the road, and the car was unable to respond quickly enough to avoid hitting her.
“Our analysis shows that it will be crucial for designers to prioritize safety over rider preferences if autonomous vehicles are to live up to their promise to be safer than human drivers,” Mueller concluded.
Such issues are certainly of concern to insurers, which may be why Waymo has been somewhat hushed about its insurance arrangements, a public relations strategy that’s raised eyebrows among consumer advocacy groups.
Tesla, on the other hand, responded to coverage challenges for its vehicles by launching its own insurance products, which are currently available in California.
“I think these companies are so litigation-averse that they will reveal details but only in confidential circumstances,” James McPherson, a San Francisco attorney who founded the consulting company SafeSelfDrive Inc., told The Recorder in late 2018.
Insurance industry analysts predict insurers will need to develop new and creative commercial and product liability coverages for fully autonomous cars and trucks. When such vehicles do arrive, they could spur a serious constriction of the personal auto insurance market.
A 2017 report released by Accenture and the Stevens Institute of Technology found an $81 billion opportunity between 2020 and 2025...