With Tesla Motors leading the way for autonomous vehicles to break into the mainstream automotive marketplace; eventually, insurance is an issue that has not been solved yet. When it comes to autonomous vehicle insurance, there is currently not a designated party as to who will be responsible for damages. Since the driver is not operating the vehicle if it is entirely autonomous, it would be difficult to pin the blame on the individual. However, there are circumstances where the driver could be liable if they activate a manual mode and control the vehicle themselves. With this said, the industry is looking toward potentially penalizing either the manufacturer or the company that developed the software.
Penalizing the Manufacturer
The manufacturer of the autonomous vehicle could potentially be at fault for an accident involving one of these vehicles. Although this becomes confusing if the same company makes both cars in a possible collision. Once more people begin thinking about autonomous vehicle insurance, the mainstream will realize a problem that needs to be sorted out before manufacturers begin churning these cars out faster than manual and automatic vehicles.
Penalizing the Software Company
The software likely built into autonomous vehicles will be outsourced to technology firms better equipped to handle this functionality. The liability for autonomous vehicle insurance will need to be passed onto someone, and these companies may end up footing the bill over time.