SGI part of working group to develop regulations for self-driving vehicles

Self-driving cars may seem like a thing of the future, but Saskatchewan Government Insurance is already in talks about the potential arrival of the technology.

Autonomous Vehicle Working Group has representatives from every province and Transport Canada

The provinces and Transport Canada are part of a working group to regulate self-driving cars. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Locher (John Locher/Associated Press)

Self-driving cars may seem like a thing of the future, but Saskatchewan Government Insurance is already in talks about the potential arrival of the technology. 

According to SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy, the Crown is part of a national committee working to a develop a regulatory framework around automated vehicles hitting the roads.

The Autonomous Vehicle Working Group has representatives from every province and Transport Canada. The committee is looking at regulation, legislation and infrastructure in relation to self-driving vehicles.

In an email to CBC News, McMurchy writes the provincial government would first need to review current legislation to make self-driving cars legal.

"Safety of all road users will be the primary driver for this type of analysis. Currently, most rules of the road legislation refers to 'the driver' or 'a person,'" he writes. 

When it comes to insurance premiums, McMurchy said they could be lowered over time if the technology used in self-driving cars, such as "collision avoidance system," resulted in fewer accidents. 

However, he said it's premature to say whether SGI could introduce a two-tier insurance system or who would be found liable if a self-driving car struck someone. 

The need for driver education likely wouldn't change either, except for educating drivers on the fact automated cars would be on the road, he added.

Besides SGI, McMurchy said the Ministry of Highways is also in discussions about self-driving cars and Transport Canada is in charge of the approval and testing of these automated vehicles.

With files from CBC's Stephanie Taylor and Jacques Marcoux

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