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This week Uber debuts its pilot program for self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. These lucky Uber users in Pittsburgh will be among the first Americans to come into direct contact with technology that is expected to eventually make its way into our everyday lives. With the greater implementation of this technology, huge changes are likely to come in the legal and insurance realms and new cyber security concerns will be created.
The increased usage of self-driving cars, while intended to make driving safer, also opens up new opportunities for hackers. Every car operated by a computer could be at risk of being taken over by hackers or invaded by ransomware or viruses. This could pose catastrophic consequences for passengers, as well as other vehicles sharing the road. This is especially true for fleets of vehicles programmed to communicate with each other, a problem which will no doubt be of special interest to Uber. These new risks create new needs for protection by automakers, fleet operators, and individual vehicle owners. Insurers will have an opportunity to offer protection from these new risks in the form of additional lines of insurance coverage.
This technology is coming and the inevitable changes it will bring are going to change the auto insurance industry and raise new and serious cyber security concerns. The time for preparation is now.