Who pays up when Google's self driving car crashes?
Just wanted to reiterate a point I made in the comments before and get some feedback on it, because it seems to be an issue that keeps coming up with nobody offering solutions:
What's wrong with a system where Google owns the car and buys the insurance. That cost is then passed on to customers in the fees they have to pay to ride (minimal given the volume I assume).
Of course that leaves it up to google to work out the likelihood of accidents and account for any resulting increases in insurance cost when figuring out a price, but that's just a bit of good old fashioned actuarial science. In any case, if we assume (based on the hundreds of thousands of miles they've already driven) that there are few to no crashes, that insurance cost will go down pretty fast (especially as the cars become more prevalent).
This system applies best to a sort of public transport system like Sergey was talking about, but could theoretically also apply to personal purchases - where the car cost price includes that.