The Automated and Electric Vehicles has been introduced to Parliament as part of the government’s programme to put the UK at the forefront of the connected and autonomous vehicles revolution.

What’s the issue?

Driverless cars are accelerating away from the realms of fantasy and into our everyday lives. While fully autonomous vehicles may not yet be on the roads, autonomy is being achieved in increments as vehicles increasingly rely on connectivity and software. There are a number of legal hurdles that need to be jumped before connected and autonomous vechicles (CAVs) can reach their potential, including data protection, cybersecurity, safety standards, liability and insurance.

What’s the development?

The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill (AEV) has been introduced in Parliament. It deals with liability and insurance issues in relation to CAVs. The default position is that insurers will be liable for damage caused by a self-driven vehicle where the vehicle is insured. If it is not insured, the owner of the vehicle will be liable. Liability may be reduced where the victim causes the damage or in the case of negligence. In addition, insurers may exclude or limit liability where an accident occurs as a result of the insured’s failure to update safety-critical software which they ought reasonably to have known was safety critical, or where they have made unauthorised software alterations.

The Bill also provides for regulations to be made in relation to facilities for charging automated and electric vehicles.

What does this mean for you?

This Bill is directly relevant to insurers and to anyone manufacturing software used to automate vehicles or who is otherwise involved in the CAV market. Most people though, are interested in the direction of travel in this area for the obvious reason that the CAV revolution will affect us all.