If no one is behind the wheel in an autonomous car crash, who pays?

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 6 APRIL 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

In the race to develop autonomous cars, tech companies and car manufacturers might face another hurdle – car insurance.

While many believe driverless cars could reduce the number of accidents on the road, crashes involving self-driving cars still happen, raising questions about liability. Yet, the old convention of auto insurance companies charging the driver at fault to pay for damages will soon no longer work, and car manufacturers are likely to become the culpable party. The shift of burden, experts say, could disincentivize advances of the technology and delay the arrival of an automated future. 

“Everyone wants to have fewer accidents,” James Lynch, chief actuary at the nonprofit organization Insurance Information Institute in New York, tells The Christian Science Monitor. “Public policy would say we want people to buy autonomous vehicles, but simple economics would point to the other direction.”

<Read More>