Biba and AXA react to the news the Bill has been given Royal Assent and is now made into law

Autonomous and electric vehicle supporters can rejoice after the Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Bill 2018 has been given Royal Assent and is now written into law.

The government previously set a target of having driverless cars on the road by 2021, and this Bill appears to be a big step in the journey.

The bill covers insurance liability, allowing autonomous and electric vehicles to be insured alongside conventional vehicles.

Motor insurers have to deal with all claims where the vehicle in AV mode, giving it a single policy approach, but insurers have the right to limit or exclude their liability where the policyholder or person in control has failed to keep the AV’s software up to date, or if unauthorised modifications have been made.

Industry reacts

Certain players in the industry have shown their happiness at the Bill being passed.

Graeme Trudgill, executive director at Biba said: “We’re pleased that the Bill has now been enacted.

”This legislation will enable the insurance industry to offer insurance policies that will provide cover for autonomous vehicles – whether being driven in a manual mode, or in a fully automated mode once the technology allows.

”Importantly this will lead to healthy competition in the insurance market as consumers will have the choice of where they buy their insurance and will not be tied to only having cover provided by their vehicle manufacturer.”

“It’s important that we are prepared well in advance of fully automated vehicles hitting the road and we welcome the opportunity that the Department for Transport has given to BIBA in being able to shape the legislation at an early stage.”

AXA UK’s technical director David Williams said: “We accelerate into the future as the first ever piece of UK legislation for driverless cars becomes law. AXA, having fed into the Bill from the start, is positive this regulation will ensure autonomous vehicles are on the roads by the Government’s target of 2021.

“Autonomous vehicles can drastically change UK roads, making them safer by reducing accidents while providing increased mobility and independence for a range of people – including the ageing population or those who are unable to drive.

“While the first step has been taken today, we must now consider the connectivity aspect of the technology, its cyber security implications and how we create a data sharing agreement for the autonomous vehicle ecosystem”