Car insurance coverage protection

Autopilot What does level 3 car insurance mean?

Source: press release

With the Mercedes S-Class and EQS, the cars on the road of the future will be able to drive themselves – without the driver having to do anything. What does this mean for insurance coverage?

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The first cars that can drive themselves in certain situations will be on the market soon.

(Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to receive approval for a high-level automated driving system (SAE Level 3). It will soon be available in the S-Class and EQS. Other manufacturers are likely to follow soon. According to the regulations, cars can drive autonomously on highways at a speed of up to 60 km / h without the driver having to pay attention to traffic. He just has to be ready to take control of the car again.

But what does that actually mean for insurance? The General Confederation of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) has answered the most important questions regarding insurance coverage for highly automated vehicles.

What does the new system do?

According to Mercedes-Benz, drivers using the “Drive Pilot” system can automatically drive at speeds of up to 60 km/h in heavy traffic or traffic jams on appropriate sections of the motorway in Germany. During this time, the driver is relieved of all driving duties and, according to the manufacturer, can continue some secondary activities “on the central display”, “such as shopping online or processing emails.” Thus, the “Drive Pilot” meets the requirements of the so-called level 3 system: the driver can move away from traffic, but must be able to control the vehicle and thus again take responsibility for driving.

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How is the division of tasks between man and machine organized?

Drive Pilot is activated by the driver using the buttons on the steering wheel. Once the system realizes that it can no longer control the traffic situation, visual, audible and tactile cues push the driver back into control. Delivery time shouldn’t be too short: Studies by UDV show that distracted drivers need up to 10 seconds to take charge and up to 15 seconds to take full control of a traffic situation. “For users of automated driving systems, it should be clear at all times what the system is doing and how much the driver can devote themselves to other things,” says GDV Deputy General Manager Anja Käfer-Rohrbach. So insurers have demanded that drivers should only be allowed to focus on anything other than traffic when the system is so sophisticated that

  • The driver rarely interferes
  • He has enough time to respond in such cases
  • Stop the car safely without the assistance of the driver.

“In terms of road safety, it is welcome that the first highly automated driving system will initially only be used in a limited speed range and on motorways – that is, in traffic without oncoming or crossing traffic, without pedestrians and without cyclists,” Kaffer Rohrbach says. .

Who pays if the system causes an accident?

The degree of automation does not change anything with regard to insurance coverage: “No one should worry that it will become worse than before after an accident with a motorized car. Applicable law contains a simple and clear answer to the question of who compensates accident victims: this is what liability insurance does The car is for the owner. In this way, we guarantee the highest level of victim protection and contribute significantly to the social acceptance of motorized cars”, explains Käfer-Rohrbach.

At the same time, this regulation is of course not an absolute mandate for car manufacturers or suppliers: “Anyone who brings defective systems to market must answer within the framework of applicable laws. Car insurance companies will examine and enforce product liability claims,” Käfer-Rohrbach said. the interview”.

For this reason, the legislature has also provided methods for being able to determine who or what caused an accident after an accident with a highly automated vehicle. “Today, this is usually the driver,” says Käfer-Rohrbach; “in vehicles with highly automated driving functions, the search for the source of the error becomes more complex.” The driver could have made a mistake such as the manufacturer, IT service provider, mobile phone provider, network operator or card provider. So vehicles with highly automated functions must have a data memory on board that records whether a human or computer is responsible for the driving task in a given situation, where the vehicle is, and when and when the control has been changed or the driver has been asked to take charge or whether he has been asked to From the driver take charge a technical error has occurred. is testing its technology on Lexus models.

Will automated driving systems like Drive Pilot result in fewer accidents and less damage?

Traffic congestion pilots primarily serve the driver’s convenience. However, the assistance systems on which the function is based, such as emergency brake aids and lane-keeping systems, actually ensure fewer accidents and more safety on the road, a recent GDV study showed. However, assistance systems and automated driving functions are slowly spreading to the number of vehicles and at the same time making repairs more expensive. “The bottom line is that the new regulations will reduce the number of accidents by 13 to 19 percent by 2040, and the compensation paid by auto insurers by only 12 percent,” Kaver Rohrbach predicts. In the study’s reference year, 2019, insurers compensated losses of around 25 billion euros.

(No.: 48291175)

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