Depending on who you speak to, driverless car technology is either going to revolutionise the world’s transportation needs or cause a type of vehicular apocalypse resulting in humanity’s downfall.
Somewhere in the realistic middle is the acceptance that the technology has been in development for some time and insurance markets are ready to adapt to meet consumer needs.
According to Navigant Research, almost 100 million driverless vehicles will be sold annually worldwide by 2035.
The former head of R&D for General Motors, and advisor to Google’s driverless car project, Larry Burns said that the technology could be in showrooms in the next four years.
In August, Mr Burns told audiences throughout Australia that: “It’s incredible what these cars are capable of doing,” and that in terms of a production launch “the leadership of Google is saying 2017, but I’m saying 2018 to hedge my bets”, according to Motoring.com.au.
With statistics like that, it’s not going to be an area of our lives that businesses take lightly in terms of insurance. In fact, insurance companies have been preparing and discussing the finer points of the autonomous technology for some time, so when it is launched, businesses and individuals will have the necessary cover.
Adapting insurance models
For businesses that run their own fleets, autonomous vehicles are not going to be an excuse to abandon all occupational health and safety when on the roads. Indeed, there will still be a very real need for companies to adapt their business insurance in line with new driverless vehicle needs.
The Swedish car manufacturer Volvo says it can eliminate all crashes for anyone using its driverless cars by 2020. This is a mammoth claim that seems to ignore the imperfections that come with any technology.
Car insurance for businesses will have to adapt to cover different threats and liabilities. Technology failure, black box recording, back-up cameras – to name a few hot topics – could all play a part in creating insurance cover for driverless vehicles.
Insurance brokers will be able to help, when the time comes, to ensure that businesses continue to get the best individualised insurance cover.