Self driving cars are the future of the automobile industry but with the new autonomous vehicle technology changes comes questions about how the auto insurance industry will be affected by it.
Companies from Kroger to Google, through its subsidiary Waymo, and Tesla all have their hands in the pot for technology and services using driverless vehicles to improve customer service, road safety and more.
In this article we’ll cover a few of the most popular question about self driving car problems that we could face in the future.
Self Driving Car Problems
Many critics say that self driving cars will never happen for one reason or another.
The say that the idea of having a driverless car is dangerous and that they will fail because accidents and injuries will happen, all without anyone having true legal responsibility for an autonomous vehicle which is essentially just a robot without a master.
You may be wondering to yourself whether these driverless cars are good or bad.
Some of the common thoughts are:
Will self driving vehicles take away jobs?
Can they be hacked?
What if they get stranded because of potholes or snow?
These are all valid concerns, even though most are beyond the scope of our website.
Still, let's take a moment and look at how autonomous vehicles could affect your car insurance policies in the future.
Self Driving Cars and Hackers
The question of self driving cars being hacked is fundamental. After all, any technology that is linked to the internet has been the subject of a security breach. And while there have never been any reports of a cyber attack on an autonomous vehicle, realistically, it's only a matter of time until we start to see reports of it.
So what should be considered when we think about protecting ourselves and our future ai powered mini vans, sedans and coupes from cyberattacks?
Protect your Identity
These vehicles are most likely going to help us stay connected while we are on the road. To hackers, staying connected gives them a huge amount of information about us. Who we are, where we commonly go, and where we are at the current time could all be information on the menu for ambitious hackers who are willing to dig for the details.
Protect your vehicle
Imagine your autonomous car taking you on an "unplanned vacation" while you are on your way to pick up the kids from school. Only later to find out that some teen with a touch for tech thought it would be a great prank.
The future version of prank calls can be more dangerous than ever before.
Protect your devices
More and more the internet of things is becoming a reality. All of the devices in our homes will eventually communicate with each other and one of the biggest weaknesses could end up being our phones, smart tvs and self driving cars. In the future, being hacked will mean that all of your information will be accessed, not just the files of your computer or phone.
Those smart refrigerators, home lightings systems, even video games your kids enjoy will be open to hackers.
How do you protect your family in the future?
Know what steps to take if your self driving car gets hacked.
If you have any connected devices, you should already be looking into protecting yourself from cyber security theft. Many homeowners policies have a small amount of coverage but you should get a policy consultation to be sure.
Teach the family to be security aware.
Most cyber breaches happen when someone inadvertently does something they were not supposed to do. Many times it can be as simple as downloading an app or inserting a USB drive. Teaching your family what should be done and not be done with connected devices will be one of the most important things we can do moving into the future.
Self Driving Cars and Safety
One of the hopes that people have is that these driverless cars will make the road safer and because of the fact that humans are always more unpredictable than robots.
Humans get tired, humans get distracted and humans hesitate.
All of these things are not something that artificial intelligence would do in a vehicle so the assumption is that autonomous vehicles will make the road safer than it has ever been before.
But is it true?
Curious to see what a ride in a driverless taxi is like? Watch this.
Self Driving Cars and Accidents
Axios conducted a study that looks at vehicle incidents in California involving self driving cars for the years of 2014 through 2018 and found that out of 38 incidents all but one were caused by the humans in the vehicle.
The most odd thing is that, of those 38 incidents, three were caused by humans intentionally attacking a self driving car by hitting it or climbing on top of it.
With this data, it's hard to say what to expect if the self driving car was at fault for a collision simply because their has not been enough accidents to see a common thread.
But this does lead us to the question about insuring a self driving car
Self Driving Cars and Insurance
The question at hand is this...
Who is liable if a self driving car is at fault for an accident?
The answer is just as groundbreaking as the technology itself.
If a self driving car is found to have caused a car accident without human error being a part of the cause then the manufacturer takes on the liability.
Google, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz have already accepted liability for these types of cases. Tesla has gone as far as offering an insurance program to purchasers of their autonomous cars.
Why are they so confident?
Primarily because the data shows that 94% of all accidents are caused by preventable human error.
But, the process of being able to prove that no human error was present isn't very clear at this moment. Expect that there will be years of legal battles to come before there is a clear understanding of these procedures.
Self Driving Cars Pros and Cons
So after all of this, what are the pros and cons of self driving cars?
First, the pros:
Self Driving Cars - Pros
Some people believe that human operated vehicles will be banned in the next 20 years or so and with it we should see a decline in deadly road crashes, as well as car insurance premiums.
No more drunk driving accidents
If an AI is driving (and the human doesn't interact with the car) then it will save thousands of lives each year.
No more traffic tickets
Police would no longer need to spend time writing traffic tickets, which would lead to more important crimes being prevented.
Self Driving Cars - Cons
Self Driving Car Prices
The cost of these self driving cars would be significantly higher than the average vehicle.
Self driving cars are heavily dependent on computers, which means that they are more vulnerable to being hacked than the cars of today.
Inclement weather conditions
The self driving cars we have today can handle normal driving conditions but can't handle snow or rain as well.
These are just a few of the pros and cons of self driving cars but what we know is the future of the automotive industry is going to revolve around self driving cars. Whatever happens within this industry will have the potential to affect almost every other sector of the economy for the foreseeable future.
When will self driving cars be available?
Fully Autonomous vehicles are rumored to be available already, though most of the car companies point to the early 2020's. Still, we don't know how long it will take for self driving cars to have clear legal precedents in terms of liability, as well as when they will be likely to handle bad weather conditions.
My advice, prepare for the future by staying prepared and cautious about what may come.