R Street Senior Fellow Ian Adams joined ABC 10 in Sacramento, California, recently to talk about the future of driverless cars and what they could mean for auto insurance. As the station reports:

Ian Adams is a senior fellow with the R Street Institute, a conservative think tank based out of Washington D.C. that’s been studying the ins and outs of driverless cars, their regulation and effects on auto insurance.

The institute aims to answer questions like, who will be liable in a crash involving a fully automated vehicle, the person inside, or the manufacturer of the self driving system if it’s engaged?

And what effect will self driving cars have on rates once, in theory, crashes and injuries are drastically reduced?

Adams says things will become more clear as people’s driving habits adjust to changes in service and technology.

For example, the auto insurance industry now, he says, is based on an personal ownership model, but as more people choose to use either ride sharing as their primary means of transportation, or when driverless cars become a reality, insurance will likely shift towards a more commercial based or fleet based model.

‘If we move toward more of a fleet model and away from a personal ownership model, you’re going to see liability placed on the manufacturers,’ Adams said. ‘In fact, there are a number of manufacturers, like Volvo for instance, that have said they will take the liability for their vehicles when they are operating in a fully autonomous mode.’

When it comes to the bottom line, Adams says all of the technology being designed for driverless cars is being done so in the name of improving safety and reducing crashes, so it’s a good thing. And with fewer crashes, auto insurance rates should go down over time when self-driving cars finally do become a reality.

Nearly every major automaker along with tech companies like Google are currently testing some aspect of autonomous vehicle design. And Adams says true progress will be made when cars are better able to communicate with each other and systems built into the infrastructure of the roadway itself.

The full clip is embedded below:

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