Brits Can Now Insure Their Driverless Cars

Adrian Flux, which specializes in cars, takes a bold first step in robocar insurance

1 min read
Brits Can Now Insure Their Driverless Cars
Illustration: iStockphoto

Adrian Flux, a British insurance company that has long specialized in hard-to-insure vehicles, now specifically covers driverless features, beginning with today’s stalwarts, like automatic braking and extending to tomorrow’s, like lane changing and self-navigation.

It's one of the first concrete steps the insurance industry has taken to address a world in which accidents may be rare, damages low, and insurance policies inexpensive. 

The Norfolk-based insurer’s policy covers any faults that might affect the manufacturer’s software, outages in satellite service, and attempts by hackers to vandalize or commandeer a car. It even covers such seemingly human errors as failing to install a software updates within 24 hours of being notified of their availability and failing to manually override the car’s software when it’s about to make a mistake.

That last proviso may be of particular importance during the long transition from cars driven purely by hand to those driven purely by machine. The one accident in which Google’s car has been found at fault involved a decision by the car’s supervision driver not to override the software when a bus was approaching from behind. The result was a metal-rending scrape, but one that hurt nobody.

You may be wondering about the company’s name. It has no electronic meaning, having been founded in 1973 by a man named Adrian Flux who’d had trouble getting his kit cars insured. He expanded to offer car insurance to disabled people and other consumers to whom traditional insurers had given scant attention. The company notes on its corporate timeline that in 2010 it acquired another such insurer, adding powered wheelchairs to its menu.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy
Purple

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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