Norfolk firm pioneers insurance policy for driverless car users

File photo dated 24/3/2015 of a woman studying the Google driverless car model. Photo credit should

File photo dated 24/3/2015 of a woman studying the Google driverless car model. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

It may sound an alarming prospect for many, but driverless cars seem to be moving ever closer.

Now, a Norfolk firm has become the first in the country to offer a personal driverless car insurance policy.

Backers claim that with 94pc of road accidents caused by human error, such vehicles will ease congestion, lower pollution and prevent accidents, although there has been the odd hiccup - one of Google's self-driving cars was recently involved in a crash with a bus in the US.

Car insurance specialists Adrian Flux's new offer is designed for consumers who may already have driverless features in their existing cars, such as self-parking, or who may be thinking of buying a new car with driverless or autopilot features.

It has additional features over a standard policy and the firm hopes it will encourage debate and discussion around the issue of liability and autonomous technology.

Gerry Bucke, general manager for Adrian Flux, based at East Winch, near King's Lynn, said: 'We wanted to help provide confidence and clarity around the ongoing debate of 'who is liable?' We understand this driverless policy to be the first of its kind in the UK – and possibly the world.'

More than half of new cars sold last year featured autonomous safety technology such as self-parking or ABS , which effectively either take control or take decisions on behalf of the driver, Mr Bucke added.

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While their policy may be the first, others are following swiftly behind. A group of 11 UK motor insurers, including Aviva, and led by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have joined forces to generate opinion on key issues relating to automated driving on UK roads, particularly concerning insurance and liability.

An Aviva spokesman said: 'It's important that insurers work together to understand the impacts, which is why we are pleased to be part of the Automated Driving Insurer Group and help shape the future of automated vehicle use in the UK.'

The issue is a fast moving one. The Modern Transport Bill, announced in last month's Queen's Speech will extend compulsory cover to accidents where the car itself, rather than the driver, is at fault.

Have you got a story about a pioneering firm in Norfolk? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk