Some of Britain’s largest motor insurance firms have formed an alliance to examine the potential impact of driverless cars in the UK. The organisation will consider who would be liable after an accident – possibly drivers, manufacturers or software developers – how to cope with different levels of automation and whether road traffic laws need to be changed.

Aviva, Direct Line and LV= are among the companies that make up the Automated Driving Insurer Group, led by trade body the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Thatcham Research, the industry’s research arm.

The alliance has pledged to work with the Government to help shape the future of automated vehicles.

A survey of almost 3,500 British adults found that a quarter (25%) think their insurance premiums could “go up significantly” following the introduction of driverless cars – even if they do not own one.

The research, commissioned by price comparison firm, also found that around half (49%) of people would not be happy to be a passenger in that type of vehicle.

The first official trials of driverless cars were launched in February last year but it could be some years before they feature on the roads. US secretary of transportation Anthony Foxx said in September that he expects automated vehicles to be used around the world in the next decade.

ABI director of general insurance policy James Dalton claimed the presence of driverless cars on UK roads would be “life-changing”. He predicted that the role of motor insurance would be significantly changed but remain “part of the picture”.

Mr Dalton said: “Insurers are not standing in the way of this development but actively looking to support progress and innovation.

“The developments we’ve seen towards increasingly autonomous vehicles are already reaping rewards – with autonomous emergency braking reducing collisions and injuries and helping to bring down insurance premiums.

“Truly driverless cars have the potential to dramatically reduce deaths and injuries on the roads and could revolutionise what we think of as public transport.”

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