Pete Moraga, spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California, spoke with us regarding driverless cars and liability and legal issues.
DC: What is the insurance industry thinking about right now regarding driverless cars?
Pete: "The whole issue of autonomous cars right now is one of excitement and a little bit of having to take a step back and really take a look at what the liability issues are going to be. As insurers we look at risk, our process and the success of our business is to assess risk and then to price it. When you have a new type of a vehicle, when you have a whole new type of a system, where there's not a history of how many accidents or claims that are filed, it's going to be very difficult. It's going to be a challenge, there's no question about it.
And then, we're going to have to look at liability and risk in much different of a situation than we do now. Because what you're looking at now is cars that are driven by software, and if you know software, you know there can be glitches in software. If you play a game at home, if you have a computer program on your computer, you know there's gonna be glitches. In this case we're going to have to understand how those glitches are going to affect this, and then what the liability is going to be. On the road, if there's an accident for instance, who is liable for that accident? Is it the manufacturer of the software? Is it the auto manufacturer because maybe the program was ok, but the way it was integrated inside the car wasn't? Or is it the driver, actually not the driver but the person in the vehicle that's supposed to override in case there is an accident pending?
It brings out a whole other world of liability and of risk that we have to look at, and the challenge is really going to be in understanding it, and trying to price it according to what that risk is.