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DOT Designates 10 Driverless Car Testing Sites

The U.S. Department of Transportation has designated ten “proving grounds” to encourage the safe testing of driverless vehicles. These testing areas, which were chosen from a pool of more than sixty applicants, encompass a diverse geographic area, ranging from Pittsburgh to San Diego.  The groups operating the sites will collaborate on best practices for the safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles.
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Britain Proposes New Framework Autonomous Vehicle Insurance

The British government has announced that it will consider new regulations to guarantee victims of accidents involving self-driving cars timely compensation in an effort to clear one of the largest obstacles to automated driving technology. Regulators and insurers have grappled with how to determine the ultimate liability for accidents, slowing the roll out of the technology. In an effort to address this issue, Britain will introduce a framework for insurance geared towards the new technology, likely in the form of a single insurance product that will provide coverage for a driver when a...
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Dual Insurance for Driverless Cars?

The UK Department for Transport is expected to announce that owners of self-driving cars will be required to take out “two-in-one” insurance policies. These policies would cover the driver if a human is driving the vehicle, and would also cover the car when it is operated in driverless mode. The insurer issuing the policy would then be able to recover costs for claims on driverless accidents from the responsible party, such as the manufacturer. The reasoning behind such “two-in-one” insurance policies is to allow an accident victim to obtain compensation without having to determine...
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Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Contend Courts Should Determine Liability for Accidents Involving Driverless Cars

A plaintiffs’ attorney group, the American Association for Justice, has issued a report on self-driving cars. The report identifies safety issues arising from development of semi- and fully-autonomous cars, and – not surprisingly – argues that liability for accidents and injuries should be determined in the courts. It opposes some regulatory proposals that would govern driverless cars, including no-fault insurance systems, self-regulation of the auto industry, immunity for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles, and governance through federal rather than state...
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What the Banking Industry Expects from Connected Cars

The American Banker recently looked at ways in which the connected car might affect not only the roads, but the finance world as well. People might be able to make “truly mobile-payments” as they go through toll booths, visit a drive-through, or stop for gas. Fully autonomous vehicles might even make purchases without human involvement. Customers might also be able to do their banking through the car, perhaps using a voice-activated “smart assistant.” As the sharing economy becomes more predominant, auto financing may need to adjust to keep up with new ownership models. However, the...
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Nevada Becomes Latest State to Address Price Optimization

Nevada’s insurance commissioner recently issued a bulletin relating to price optimization. The bulletin reminds property and casualty insurers that their underwriting and rating models must be filed with the division of insurance for approval. This includes models based on credit information or models using a mathematical algorithm. It also specifically includes “any ‘price optimization’ models that an insurer might use to determine the extent to which a selected relativity moves toward the indicated relativity. Such models may not utilize any non-risk-based attributes such as price...
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Collision Demonstrates Tesla Model S Safety Features

A recent accident involved a Tesla Model S being rear-ended by a tractor trailer on the highway. The driver reported no injuries, though the the rear of the Tesla and the front of the tractor trailer were heavily damaged. ...
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Uber Signs Deal With German Automaker Daimler AG

Uber Technologies Inc. has partnered with Germany’s Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the first automaker to sign a deal with Uber, in its attempt to build a fleet of autonomous vehicles. Although Uber has devoted many resources to developing autonomous vehicles, deals with auto makers are “crucial” to the company because it has no experience in manufacturing. This deal, in which Daimler will incorporate its autonomous vehicles into Uber’s fleet, comes nearly a year after reports that Uber had placed a long-term order with Daimler for approximately 100,000 S-Class...
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NADA Releases Automotive Privacy Guide

The National Auto Dealers Association recently release a guide regarding consumer privacy and data collection in modern cars. The guide, titled “Personal Data In Your Car,” covers the different ways data from vehicle operators is collected, used, and shared. Data has been collected for years through Event Data Recorders and On-Board Diagnostic ports, but the report identifies multiple new technologies that track additional data, such as location information, external information, in-cabin information, user recognition, app usage, and more. Regarding this data, most automakers have...
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New Book Recommends Regulators take a Proactive Approach to Driverless Cars

In their new book, Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead, Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman state that government must expend considerable resources in crafting meaningful regulation: A driverless license is a good start, but a significant amount more research and exploration of regulatory oversight is needed. Ideally, the highest levels of the government should adopt a proactive, rather than reactive, approach. For example, legal experts need to examine and possibly revamp liability laws to clarify who, exactly, is at fault in a driverless accident. Car insurance will need to be...
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NHTSA finds no vehicle defects in Tesla accident investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found no evidence of design or performance defects in its investigation of a May 2016 fatal accident involving a Tesla. The accident occurred near Williston, Florida when a driver operating his Model S in Autopilot collided with a trailer truck and was killed. In its report, NHTSA found that the trailer truck was visible to the driver at least seven seconds before the collision; during that time, the driver failed to take any action to prevent the accident, such as braking, steering, or attempting to avoid the truck. The U.S....
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How Technology May Affect Insurance in 2017

Marsh has released a new report on trends anticipated in the United States casualty insurance marketplace in 2017. It noted that the Internet of Things, the sharing economy, and autonomous vehicles will all begin to make major changes to the insurance business in the coming year. In particular, telematics that track vehicle performance and driver behavior may enable insurers to offer usage-based insurance. Insurers will also need to develop solutions for the sharing economy, on-demand services companies, and driverless cars. And the interconnectedness of the world will blur the boundaries...
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Alphabet Reduces Cost for Self-Driving Sensor

Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit of Alphabet, Inc., has announced that it reached a milestone of building all of its self-driving hardware in-house. The company noted that it was able to cut the cost of a key component by 90% from its cost in 2009. The component uses “LiDAR” (similar to radar, but with light instead of radio waves) to detect a vehicle’s surroundings. Waymo debuted the new sensor on an autonomous Chrysler minivan at the Detroit Auto Show. The cost reduction in the sensor may be a step towards mass production of autonomous...
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State Transit Authorities Develop “Smart Roads”

A handful of states are responding to the smart car surge by developing and installing “smart roads”—technology-aided roads using fiber optics, cameras, and signaling devices to communicate with drivers, autonomous vehicles, and even transit authorities. For example, Virginia has installed “smart road” devices on light poles and bridges on certain roads, which watch the highway, communicate with drivers, and message government road-maintenance vehicles regarding conditions. Although there are significant potential benefits, from fewer accidents to fuel savings, the cost to the...
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