Cars have become more and more “independent” in the past few years, with features such as autonomous braking on budget cars and luxury sedans alike. With testing from companies such as Google, this independence is poised to reach a new level in driverless cars.
In fact, Google’s driverless cars have covered more than 1.7 million miles. Here’s a look at the downsides of driverless cars, as well as auto insurance implications.
Does Driverless Mean Safer?
The Tesla car is one vehicle that already has many autonomous features, but as of now, no regular car on the road is completely driverless. Tesla hopes that changes in 2018, while Ford and Google hope their driverless cars can hit the road in 2020.
However, a fatal crash in May involving a Tesla car running autopilot features has raised questions as to whether driverless means safer.
The answer at this point is that the question is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. The Tesla car was not driverless, and Tesla says that it tells drivers to stay attentive no matter what.
In addition, the company said the crash was the first fatality in more than 130 million miles of autopilot. It seems as if human error on both sides contributed significantly to the crash, but carmakers should go many extra miles to emphasize what their car features can and cannot do.
Tesla’s autopilot (or any car’s autopilot) is no replacement for not paying attention to the road when you are behind the wheel.
Eventually, though, truly driverless cars could be safe, safer for sure than cars driven by humans with all of their error-prone ways, such as driver fatigue, driving distracted and driving drunk.
Plus, driverless technology can react faster than humans do, engaging the brakes quicker, for example. It’s entirely possible that humans driving cars may become somewhat extinct in the next few decades.
Auto Insurance Implications
There are several auto insurance implications when it comes to driverless cars. For example, as more autonomous features begin to roll out, auto insurance rates could increase if insurers believe that the driverless cars give drivers false security about what their cars can and cannot do.
When the time for truly driverless cars comes, perhaps in only two years, there may also be safety issues and safety kinks that will need to be worked out. But, the adoption of driverless technology will likely happen in phases, and will be spearheaded by affluent trendsetters and forward thinking companies, giving the insurance industry ample time to adjust.
Eventually, as with any ground-breaking technology, driverless cars will become more intelligent, safer and more accessible to the masses – forcing insurance companies to develop more informed risk models that will result in more affordable coverage.
If you would like to know more about auto insurance in New York or New Jersey, please reach out to Mackoul & Associates today. When it comes to auto insurance, you want to make sure you have the right protection. With our large selection of reputable, national, and regional insurance companies, we will do a comprehensive review of your current policy to make sure you are not missing any valuable coverages.