A change to the car insurance laws will make it easier for innocent victims of algorithms to make insurance claims, with future insurance policies for people who own self-driving vehicles expanded to offer protection for what happens when an autonomous car slams a family into the sea because its map was buffering.
The new rules make it clear that the driver is handing over full responsibility and control to the car, meaning that in any subsequent accident the "driver" is regarded as a mere passenger or a casualty of an accident beyond his or her control. The Department for Transport says this will be handled by new two-in-one insurance products, where one policy has elements for manual control and a separate flap of paper is needed for when Google or Elon Musk's consciousness is holding the wheel.
Payouts for damage when self-driving cars crash will then be paid by the insurance companies, which will then pursue the manufacturers for the costs.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Automated vehicles have the potential to transform our roads in the future and make them even safer and easier to use, as well as promising new mobility for those who cannot drive. But we must ensure the public is protected in the event of an incident and this week we are introducing the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies." [AOL]