Legal and ethical implications of ‘Vehicle to Everything’

Project coordinators: Sally Weston and Freyja van den Boom

Project description

The context for this project is data from Vehicle to Everything (V2X) and how it will transform the insurance sector and revolutionise the way consumers engage with insurers.  V2X is an intelligent transport system where all vehicles and infrastructure systems are monitored and interconnected by wireless local area networks, smart phones, GPS and related technologies.  Vehicles can already automatically pass along messages regarding road conditions, traffic flow, and obstacles before these appear in the driver’s visual range.   Automatic and then autonomous driving systems will increase by 2020 and beyond.   This will aid safety and efficiency but also generate mass data on citizens’ individual movements and behaviour.

The increase in data could disrupt existing legal principles.  One example is the doctrine of utmost good faith, unique to Insurance Law, which was a response to the information asymmetry (favouring the consumer) which has existed for centuries.  Data on driving performance will soon be available that would inform the insurer’s algorithmic risk assessment and determine insurance price, thereby removing the ‘speculation’ which justified the disclosure obligation.  Such information could not only disrupt the balance between personalisation and the pooling of risk which is at the heart of insurance but also result in social sorting whereby some members of society are potentially discriminated against on the basis of the data received.  The aim of the research is therefore to consider not only what can and cannot be done with the data within the present legal regime but also what ought to be done.