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Baby, you can’t drive no car

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The Beatles once sang “Baby, you can drive my car,” but a British insurance executive says babies born today may not know how to drive by the time they grow up.

Axa UK chief executive Amanda Blanc said recently that fast-moving technology could mean that autonomous vehicles could be available by 2032 — and thus today’s infants may never have to take a road test.

With computers in control, accidents in this brave new world will be untouched by human hands, and Ms. Blanc told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the insurance industry must be ready to handle the types of risks that will result from the use of self-driving vehicles.

U.S. government research predicts that driverless vehicles will lead to an 80% drop in the number of car crashes by 2035.

Ms. Blanc said it is "crucial" for the insurance sector to prepare a framework to respond to the car accidents of the future. Insurance rates are likely drop dramatically as the number of accidents are expected to tumble when the use of autonomous vehicles shifts into high gear.

A recently released study from tech giant Intel Corp. and the research firm Strategy Analytics said that driverless vehicles will be behind $7 trillion worth of economic activity and new efficiencies annually by 2050.

Self-driving vehicles are expected to free more than 250 million hours of consumers’ commuting time per year in the most congested cities in the world, the Intel study said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Monday that the Trump administration will unveil revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months. Ms. Chao was not specific about what her department's proposals would include, or how they would differ from policy guidance proposed by the Obama administration.