In films like I, Robot and The Fifth Element, we see self-driving, automated vehicles transporting their passengers across a vast landscape. Some of these vehicles are driving on land and others are flying through the air, think Back to the Future Part II. While flying autos are still science fiction, the self-driving street car is not. It’s expected that by the year 2020, 10 million automated vehicles will be driving on our roadways.
Some have begun to question the need for auto insurance with the innovation of the self-driving vehicle. And while the auto insurance agency is preparing for a change, it’s not going to happen all at once; so don’t cancel your liability car insurance plan just yet.
The Cost of the Automated Car
The Insurance Information Institute (III) has learned that with the automated vehicle’s forward-collision warnings, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warnings that traffic fatalities will face a sharp decline. This is wonderful news. With 37,000 reported traffic-related deaths a year in the U.S., watching that number drop will be momentous.
However, driving an automated vehicle does not guarantee an accident-free motorist career. Ex-Navy Seal and technology company owner Joshua Brown was a vehement supporter of the Tesla automated car. YouTube videos abound of Joshua demonstrating the Tesla car’s accident avoidance technology. Viewed over 3 million times, Joshua’s “Autopilot Saves Model S” video shows how the vehicle avoided an accident when a large white truck cut Joshua off on the freeway.
Sadly, the car did not enact its crash avoidance technology when a few weeks later a tractor trailer made a left turn in front of Joshua. Confusing the white vehicle with the brightness of the sky, Joshua’s car continued to drive at full speed, crashing into the truck and driving under its belly, ripping off the windshield and killing Joshua on impact. The self-driving car drove on, only coming to a stop after it collided with a telephone pole some 300 yards later.
Though the automated technology is there, it is not without its shortcomings. Accidents will still happen. Tesla had informed its drivers not to take their hand off of the wheel, and to remain diligent in their motoring activities. Heavy News reports that it was later learned that Joshua may not have had time to react to the failed crash avoidance technology because he was watching a Harry Potter video on his transportable DVD player.
No one deserves to die in a car accident, but there are steps we can take to circumvent a collision. Joshua’s accident showed technology enthusiasts that it can still fall short. III writes that “as crash avoidance technology gradually becomes standard equipment, insurers will be able to better determine the extent to which these various components reduce the frequency and cost of accidents. They will also be able to determine whether the accidents that do occur lead to a higher percentage of product liability claims, as claimants blame the manufacturer or suppliers for what went wrong rather than their own behavior.” Accidents won’t stop happening, there are just going to be different reasons for them happening.
Insurance isn’t going to go away any time soon. To find an affordable policy that suits your lifestyle, compare with CoverHound today.