rolls royce driverless car

Driverless cars will need insurance to protect against cyber-attacks, AXA Insurance technical director David Williams has said.

Motorists using driverless cars may have to insure themselves against the risk of hackers remotely stealing their vehicles or taking control of them and then demanding ransom payments.

A report from the insurer in association with Venturer says that future motor insurance policies will have to reflect the risk cyber criminals pose to self-driving cars, insurance companies will need to adapt to a new range of risks presented by hackers.

For example, potential claims could include cases where hackers break into and steal a vehicle remotely, the Sunday Times reports.

Williams said so called ransomware arracks, where cyber criminals remotely locked individuals out of their computers could be extended to driverless vehicles.

Last year America researchers demonstrated that they could hack into Jeep Cherokee travelling at 70 mph and bring it to a standstill on a motorway.

Williams added: “I don’t think it would be acceptable for somebody to issue a motor policy for an autonomous vehicle and say cyber risk are excluded.”

Despite the need for cyber cover, Williams added that insurance premiums would fall for autonomous vehicles because they are expected to be much safer.

AXA is part of the Venturer consortium that is is trialling autonomous vehicles in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire council areas to explore the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK.

The trial is being funded by Innovate UK to investigate the legal and insurance aspects of the new technology and explore how the public react to such vehicles.