Government planning

NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance made some fantastic statements over the last couple of weeks.

NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance made some fantastic statements over the last couple of weeks. Understanding the implications of autonomous vehicle technology, he stated: I don’t want to see governments making multibillion-dollar investments and then it turns out that with the advent of driverless cars we’ve made the wrong decision”. He is calling on smarter governments that make investments taking new technologies into consideration. Isn’t this a more respectful way to invest taxpayer money?

Trucking & Logistics

Daimler’s highly automated truck hit the public highways in Germany and other news.

Daimler’s highly automated truck hit the public highways in Germany.

A recent study undertaken by AXA UK found that there would be significant economy-wide business and consumer advantages with the advent of automated or ‘driverless’ haulage and logistics vehicles, including delivering nearly £34bn in savings to the haulage industry in the UK alone. If passed on, that would mean £150 of savings on grocery spend per household annually.

Singapore will be deploying driverless vehicles at its ports. The “Ministry of Transport will test “truck platooning” technology for moving containers between port terminals”.

Transit

In the future, public transportation is likely to look very differently than it does today.

In the future, public transportation is likely to look very differently than it does today. It may contain Hyperloops and driverless shuttles.  Hyperloop is concerned, work is scheduled to begin on a $6 billion test track in California within weeks. “The test track will be limited to 160mph with passengers on board but empty carriages will be tested at speeds up to 780mph. G-force in the system would be similar to those experienced by Formula 1 drivers, and tubes would mostly be straight in order to minimise stress and strain.” There are ambitions to role out the technology globally.

Several European companies are providing driverless shuttles. EasyMile’s driverless shuttle rolled out on Singapore and California over the last few weeks.

Insurance

Despite the addition of driver assistance features to vehicles intended to help avoid collisions, the growing number of in-vehicle distractions is resulting in greater opportunity for driver distraction.

One of the biggest pieces of news to hit the autonomous vehicle sector this last month was Volvo’s announcement that the company will accept full responsibility for any accidents caused by its driverless cars.  Mercedes and Google “have made similar claims as manufacturers race to create a full-functioning, legal car of the future”. The implications for the insurance industry are enormous.

Despite the addition of driver assistance features to vehicles intended to help avoid collisions, the growing number of in-vehicle distractions is resulting in greater opportunity for driver distraction.  A recently released study concludes that “aids”, such as Siri, distract drivers for up to 27 seconds after the interaction with the device is complete. Driving at 40 km/h, distraction of 27 seconds would cover a distance equivalent to 3 football fields.

The “misuse” by some Tesla drivers of Tesla’s autopilot (released in October via a software update) combined with the in-vehicle distractions should clearly spell danger for insurers.

KPMG released a report that concludes that autonomous vehicles could shrink US personal auto insurance by 60%. The impact would be underestimated if autonomous vehicles are defined as fully autonomous.

Munich Re has launched its Mobility Domain. It is part of the company’s enhanced focus on innovation and emerging risks. Driverless vehicle technology will be an important focus of the Mobility Domain’s activities.

Google is intensifying its investments and partnerships in the insurance technology space. The company has signed off on at least 6 separate partnerships and investments in insurance tech just this year. It looks like the Silicon Valley giant has its sights set on disrupting the multi-trillion dollar insurance business.

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Ridesharing

Uber is increasingly being perceived as a threat by auto manufacturers.

Uber is reportedly eyeing funding that would bring the company’s valuation to $70 billion US.

More news on Uber: the company is apparently interested in competing with couriers in the on-demand delivery space.

In several US cities, Uber is vaporizing the taxi industry. In NYC, for example, “total trips in the first half of 2015 were down 10% to 77 million, compared to same period last year”. Revenues from yellow cab fares have also declined. In month of July alone, there were 100,000 Uber trips in NYC daily, a four-fold increase compared to last summer.  Karhoo, a startup that will be launching in January 2016, has raised $250 million in funding, and will be working with licensed taxi companies to give them a technological leg up in the competition against Uber. Taxi companies are in dire need for assistance: the relative value of taxi medallions has plummeted. In 2013, a NYC taxi medallion was worth an estimated $1.3 million. Today, online listings range from $600,000 to $900,000.

Uber is increasingly being perceived as a threat by auto manufacturers. According to a recently conducted survey, “22% of Uber users aged 18 to 64, who have used the service in the past 6 months, said they were delaying or holding off buying a new car for that very reason”. The survey findings “translate to approximately 3 to 4 million people who may hold off on buying a new car because of Uber”.

Trend to ban cars

Oslo announced that it will ban cars from its city centre by 2019.

An increasing number of European cities, including London, Paris, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Brussels, Dublin, Oslo and Madrid, have set their sights on urban centres without vehicles. Other mobility options will be encouraged and sought. Oslo announced that it will ban cars from its city centre by 2019. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will be key to facilitating movement for residents and others finding themselves in these cities. With MaaS, we are turning transportation into a software industry and this has tremendous ramifications for. As we move from owning cars to using mobility services to go where we need to go, most urban parking spaces will disappear. This is only a small example of the impact of this change in mobility business models.

The European Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Alliance was launched a couple of weeks ago and we are proud to say that the Transportation Evolution Institute is a member of the Alliance.
Photo : Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock.com

Government planning required

Those who earn a living by a driving a vehicle will, in all likelihood, be required to find employment elsewhere.

While autonomous vehicle technologies will be accompanied by numerous benefits, job displacement is a concern. Those who earn a living by a driving a vehicle will, in all likelihood, be required to find employment elsewhere. If this technology and new mobility solutions are to be integrated into the mobility ecosystems in an orderly fashion, it is imperative that government start planning for this integration and for how individuals who depend on driving for their livelihood can transition to other sectors of the economy.

Governments positioning to reap the economic benefits

The UK is investing hundreds of millions of £ in positioning the country in the autonomous vehicle technology sector.

The UK is investing hundreds of millions of £ in positioning the country in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. A recent study concluded that “developing the next generation of autonomous vehicles could land the UK with as many as 320,000 jobs and deliver £51bn of economic benefits”.

Japan’s National Policy Agency announced plans to draw up guidelines for public road tests of self-driving vehicles.

Driverless cars have begun being tested in the state of Virginia. They will begin testing in Australia next month.

The government of France will be modifying its legislation to permit autonomous vehicles to circulate on its roads and highways.

And of course, the Government of Ontario has announced that self-driving vehicles will be tested in the Province beginning in 2016.