UK insurer first to offer discount for self-driving car tech

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla drivers in the United Kingdom have all the more reason to engage the car’s AutoPilot system when in the appropriate situation. Direct Line, a British auto insurer, will now offer a 5 percent discount on premiums for drivers who use the self-driving technology.

The system’s use is actually in Direct Line’s favor since the insurer will gain valuable data to understand how self-driving technology impacts safety, and subsequently, the price of insurance premiums. That’s correct: an insurance company wants drivers to take a break. The company told in a report published in early December that because the driver is still chiefly in charge while using AutoPilot, the procedures to insure the Model S or Model X is no different.

The discount is simply a bid to learn from the technology and understand how auto insurance will change in the future.

Early research, according to the report, showed the likelihood of a crash dropped 40 percent for drivers who regularly use AutoPilot.

Tesla has previously claimed its AutoPilot system houses fully self-driving capability, but the software required to enable it isn’t ready just yet. The statement has prompted some to scoff at the idea of self-driving technology minus the use of Lidar systems, which are not included in today’s Model S and Model X vehicles. Specifically, a GM executive called Tesla CEO Elon Musk “full of crap” over the claim.

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