Waymo, a self-driving technology company has obtained insurance to begin testing autonomous vehicles with no backup drivers on Bay Area roads. The details of the policy have been redacted however according to public records companies have insured Waymo’s fleet of 39 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and how much those policies will pay out for potential injuries to the public, property damage and workers’ compensation claims and are valid through June 1, 2019.
As of today, Waymo is the only one with the permit to test driverless vehicles on the public roads. The first passengers will be Waymo employees and public volunteer riders. The regulators allow companies to perform testing only when they meet the state's safety requirements and must report any collisions in addition to submitting an annual report detailing how many times the autonomous-driving system disengaged.
Self-driving technologies will continue to face public scrutiny in light of recent accidents. However, the fact that thousands die needlessly every year due to driver error is a loss of life worth pursuing regardless of the time, resources or regulatory hurdles in the way.