Google’s omnipresence

This month, Google announced the creation of Sidewalk Labs.

This month, Google announced the creation of Sidewalk Labs, a company that will focus on improving city living by “developing new technologies to deal with urban issues like cost of living, transportation, and energy usage”. The company will be headed by Dan Doctoroff, former NY Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Bloomberg CEO. The combination of the self-driving vehicle, Google maps, the company’s involvement in insurance and the individual online data that Google possesses makes us wonder how Sidewalk Labs will position itself in the urban mobility arena.
Photo : turtix / Shutterstock.com

Drones in insurance

A new FAA ruling will allow the Property Drone Consortium (including Allstate) to fly drones for property claims research on behalf of customers.

A new FAA ruling will allow the Property Drone Consortium (including Allstate) to fly drones for property claims research on behalf of customers.  “The FAA approval paves the way for consortium members to use drones to collect and process images for research, which can facilitate the assessment of exterior property damage. The consortium also plans to continue its research on safety, including collision avoidance, visual line of sight and automated flight planning with drones.

Ride-sharing insurance

Allstate has joined the growing list of US carriers offering ride-sharing insurance and GEICO announced it is bringing end-to-end ride-share insurance to Texas.

Allstate has joined the growing list of US carriers offering ride-sharing insurance. The company’s Ride for Hire policy will “cost $15 to $20 per year on average and will provide coverage for drivers who have accidents while on the way to pick up new fares. It said it can also help them deal with gaps in coverage between their own auto insurance and policies offered by the ride-hailing companies. »

GEICO announced it is bringing end-to-end ride-share insurance to Texas. The company first introduced its ridesharing product in Virginia and Maryland. The company claims its market share is growing rapidly in both these states. “GEICO offers ridesharing coverage through GEICO Commercial at a price significantly lower than taxi and commercial rates. “

 

Photo by: Alfredo Mendez, via Flickr  CC BY 2.0

Consumer acceptance of driverless technology

More than 1 in 4 Americans state they would support limits on humans driving cars.

One of the obstacles to commercialization of fully self-driving vehicles is consumer acceptance. In a national poll undertaken in the US, more than 1 in 4 Americans stated they would support limits on humans driving cars. It is incredible that the number is already as high as it is. As more is known about the technology and its potential benefits and as people come into greater contact with the technology (through such experiences as driverless shuttles at airports, theme parks, etc.), the percentage of citizens supporting the use of driverless vehicles will increase.

In an effort to increase consumer understanding and eventual acceptance of the technology, Google launched a friendly explanatory home page for its self-driving vehicle project and will be sharing monthly progress reports. This came following reports revealing that Google’s SDCs had been involved in 13 accidents over the course of over 1 million miles of testing. The company was quick to underline that the Google self-driving cars were not at fault. Google also celebrated the fact that their SDCs had crossed the million-mile mark. The company’s software has now self-driven the equivalent of 75 years of typical US adult driving.

 

Photo : Dong liu / Shutterstock.com

Jurisdictions demonstrating an interest in driverless technology

More and more jurisdictions are demonstrating interest in opening up their roads and highways for the testing of driverless vehicle technology.

More and more jurisdictions are demonstrating interest in opening up their roads and highways for the testing of driverless vehicle technology. A change of regulations permitting such testing is often a first step towards attracting R&D investments.

Iowa could soon see the first autonomous vehicle only road in the state that would be used as a real-time transit only movement.

Nevada’s Governor wants “transportation officials to consider adding support for self-driving cars as part of a multimillion dollar highway improvement project in Las Vegas”.

Virginia is opening up over 70 miles for autonomous vehicles to test their real-world skills. The Virginia Automated Corridors (combination of highways, arterial roads, and urban streets) represent a microcosm of the conditions SDCs “will face once broad-scale deployment takes place, tapping into HD maps from HERE and vehicle-to-vehicle communication tech.”

New Zealand Transport Minister has discussed the potential for his country’s roads to be used to test driverless vehicles and according to an article in the New Zealand Herald, “Google’s California staff have expressed an interest in testing driverless cars in New Zealand”.

In China, manufacturers and suppliers are “being told to step up their game in the race towards autonomous vehicles”.

Canada’s oilsands turn to self-driving trucks

In Canada, oilsands companies looking to cut costs and boost productivity are turning to self-driving trucks.

In Canada, oilsands companies looking to cut costs and boost productivity are turning to self-driving trucks. “Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil company, confirmed this week it has entered into a five-year agreement with Komatsu Ltd., the Japanese manufacturer of earthmoving and construction machines, to purchase new heavy haulers for its mining operations north of Fort McMurray. All the new trucks will be “autonomous-ready,” meaning they are capable of operating without a driver.  Unifor, the union representing employees about to lose their jobs, is already reacting.”

What role will insurers play in insuring these vehicles?

Photo credit: Christian Sprogoe Photography

Tomorrow’s trucking

Trucking fleets may be early adopters of self-drive technology.

Trucking fleets may be early adopters of self-drive technology. The strong payback makes a business decision easier to make. The implications for the more than 5.7 million licensed professional drivers are bleak.

The Central North American Trade Corridor Association has proposed a robot truck corridor crossing Canada, the US and Mexico. An initiative has been launched to implement this corridor along Route 83.

Peterbilt is showing off its NHTSA Level 3 autonomous trucks equipped with advanced driver assistance systems. The trucks are also equipped with V2V communications system, facilitating platooning.

Cross-industry collaborations

Baidu has suggested that it will “roll out” a NHTSA Level 3 autonomous vehicle by the end of this year.

The development of the technology has given rise to collaborations between stakeholders from a variety of industries. One such collaboration is between Chinese web giant, Baidu, and BMW. Baidu has suggested that it will “roll out” a NHTSA Level 3 autonomous vehicle by the end of this year.

In the drone space, NASA and Verizon are working together in an effort to “develop a sort of air-traffic control on cell towers for small, low-altitude drones”.  The first tests are scheduled for this summer, and “Verizon is working toward offering things like navigation and data for drones by 2017”.

Insurance industry preparedness

A report published this month concludes that insurers are unprepared for autonomous vehicles.

An increasing number of articles and blogs dealing with the implications of driverless vehicle technology on the insurance industry are appearing in newspapers, speciality journals, blogs, etc.

A report published this month concludes that insurers are unprepared for autonomous vehicles. “KPMG found scepticism about the potential transformation autonomous vehicles will bring in the near-term because most insurers believe the changes are 10 years away, or more.”

Despite this scepticism, it is becoming increasingly clear that the combination of new technology, new players and new risks will transform the insurance industry over the course of the next two decades.

Join Catherine Kargas and the Insurance-Canada.ca team at the Executive Forum on August 31st in Toronto as leaders from the regulatory, political and technology spaces join insurance industry executives to assess the implications of autonomous vehicle technology on the industry.

Vehicular connectivity: exponential growth

By 2020, one in five vehicles in the world will have wireless network connectivity built into their systems.

By 2020, one in five vehicles in the world will have wireless network connectivity built into their systems. The opportunities for product development and collaboration between various stakeholders in the telecommunications and mobility spaces are great. The implications with respect to intelligent transportation systems and cyber security are enormous.