automated driving What does level 3 mean for auto insurance?
Source: press release
With the Mercedes S-Class and EQS, cars will be on the road in the future and can take over driving in certain situations without the driver having to keep an eye on traffic. The insurance association GDV explains what this means for insurance coverage.
providers on the subject
Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to receive approval for a highly automated driving system (SAE Level 3). It will be available shortly in the S-Class and the EQS. Other manufacturers are likely to follow. According to regulations, cars can drive autonomously on highways up to a speed of 60 km/h without the driver having to pay attention to traffic. You just have to be ready to take control of the vehicle again.
But what does that really mean for insurance? The General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) has answered the most important questions about insurance coverage for these types of vehicles.
What does the new system do?
According to Mercedes-Benz, drivers with the “Drive Pilot” system can drive highly automatically at speeds of up to 60 km/h in heavy traffic or jams on suitable motorway sections in Germany. During this time, the driver is relieved of all driving tasks and, according to Mercedes-Benz, can perform certain secondary activities “on the central screen”, “such as shopping online or processing emails in the car office”. The “Drive Pilot” thus meets the requirements of the so-called Level 3 system: The driver can move away from traffic, but must be able to take control of the car and thus take responsibility for driving again.
How is the division of tasks between man and machine regulated?
Drive Pilot is activated by the driver using buttons on the steering wheel. As soon as the system recognizes that it can no longer control the traffic situation, visual, acoustic and tactile signals prompt the driver to take control again. The delivery time should not be too short: studies by the accident investigation department of insurers (UDV) show that distracted drivers need up to 10 seconds to take over and up to 15 seconds to take full control of an accident situation. traffic. “For users of automated driving systems, therefore, it must be clear at all times what the system is doing and to what extent the driver can devote himself to other things,” says GDV Deputy CEO Anja Käfer-Rohrbach. . Therefore, insurers had required that drivers only be allowed to focus on anything other than traffic when a system is so sophisticated that
- the driver rarely has to intervene;
- you have enough time to react in such cases;
- the car stops safely without the help of the driver.
“In terms of road safety, it is to be welcomed that the first highly automated driving system will initially only be used in a limited speed range and on motorways, that is, in traffic situations with no oncoming or crossing traffic, no pedestrians and no cyclists. Kafer-Rohrbach says.
Who pays if the system causes an accident?
The degree of automation does not change anything in terms of insurance coverage: “No one has to worry about being worse off than before after an accident with an automated car. Applicable law has a simple and clear answer to the question of who compensates accident victims: That is what motor vehicle owner’s liability insurance does. In this way, we guarantee the highest level of victim protection and make a significant contribution to the social acceptance of automated cars,” says Käfer-Rohrbach.
At the same time, this regulation, of course, is not a carte blanche for car manufacturers or suppliers: “Anyone who introduces defective systems on the market must respond within the framework of the applicable laws. Motor vehicle insurers would examine and enforce corresponding product liability claims,” Käfer-Rohrbach said.
Therefore, the legislator has also provided ways to determine who or what caused the accident after an accident with a highly automated vehicle. “Today, this is often the driver; in vehicles with highly automated driving functions, the search for the source of the error is becoming more and more complex,” says Käfer-Rohrbach. The driver could also have made a mistake such as the manufacturer, an IT service provider, a mobile phone provider, a network operator or a card provider. Therefore, vehicles with highly automated functions must have an on-board data memory that records whether the human or the computer was responsible for the driving task in a certain situation, where the car was and when, when the control was changed. or the driver was asked to do so. take over, or if a technical failure has occurred.
Will automated driving systems like Drive Pilot lead to fewer accidents and less damage?
Traffic jam pilots like the Drive Pilot primarily serve driver comfort. However, the assistance systems on which the traffic jam driver relies, such as emergency brake assistants and lane keeping systems, actually guarantee fewer accidents and more safety on the road, as a recent study from the GDV. However, assistance systems and automated driving functions are only slowly spreading in the vehicle population and, at the same time, making repairs more expensive. “The bottom line is that the new systems will reduce the number of accidents by 13 to 19 percent by 2040, and compensation paid by motor vehicle insurers by only about 12 percent,” says Käfer-Rohrbach. In the reference year of the study, 2019, insurers had settled losses of around 25,000 million euros.