Among the many debates around driverless cars, a common theme has been the risk of job losses caused by dramatic changes in the motor market.

The rise of car sharing, car clubs and new transportation services available on call — without a human driver — could eventually reduce the number of vehicles required and therefore manufacturing jobs could be reduced. Taxi drivers, bus drivers and truck drivers are some of the professions that could be affected.

It seems possible that fewer cars will get into accidents, so repair shops may have to cut jobs for technicians.

In this scenario the insurance sector could decline, as claims frequency drops and motor manufacturers, together with other new entrants, start to encroach into the insurance space. Some autonomous vehicle makers have already said they will carry their own liability as the responsibility for safety decisions shifts from individuals to the cars themselves.

Conversely, depending on the exact regulatory framework given to autonomous vehicles, the legal costs and some other operational aspects of insurance such as complex crash diagnostics, cyber risk, software and manufacturer liability could yet increase.

While these points are usually exaggerated in the media, it’s likely there will be a change in focus for roles throughout the motoring industry. We will still need new vehicles, and they will need to be serviced, although certainly there will be a different mix with more ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft or SideCar.

Consumers and motorists value choice today between buses, cars and taxis — as well as between car manufacturers and between insurers. That principle is unlikely to change very much.

Insurance will be required for driverless cars, although the details of the policy will be very different from the standard wording seen today. For driverless vehicles (unlike driven vehicles) compulsory motor insurance will be extended to cover product liability and there are some other new regulatory aspects detailed in the UK government’s recent consultation.

One UK insurer recently became possibly the first in the world to publish terms and conditions for its driverless car policy, providing cover for some completely new types of incident, in cases of software hacking, satellite failure or software malfunction, related to self-parking and autopilot systems initially.

So there are some big changes coming, but they will happen gradually over the next 15 years as semi-autonomous and then fully-autonomous vehicles become more commonplace.

Ultimately, where current motoring jobs become redundant, new jobs will be opening up more rapidly over the coming years.

Development, maintenance and improvements to telematics and other programming for software running the vehicles, plus infrastructure required to run autonomous public transport, will need huge manpower to handle as efficiently as the driverless dream requires.

In addition, the data produced by the vehicles will need analyzing, managing and utilizing for future development.

These are important learnings for the development of this system and a multitude of purposes we can only begin to imagine today.

New roles are already being created: the knowledge manager and data scientist are just two job titles which would have been almost unheard of even five years ago.

There is a new world of work emerging in big data, software and risk scoring. As an example, at LexisNexis Risk Solutions we will have created over 70 entirely new roles by 2018, mostly for data managers and data scientists related to our data analytics centre in Dublin. LexisNexis Risk Solutions company Wunelli is creating additional roles in telematics globally. Those figures will multiply dramatically as the value of the data from vehicles becomes more and more central to our future mobility.

Visit the LexisNexis Risk Solutions website to find out more about how we support insurers.

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