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Autonomous Vehicle Insurance: Forecasting the Future

Cameron JahnCameron Jahn

What is the future of autonomous vehicle insurance? It is a question that grows more important every day

With companies like Toyota, Uber, and Google, currently working to perfect the technology, the question is not will autonomous vehicles fill our roads, but when?

And, how will insurance handle them?

Liability and Autonomous Vehicle Insurance

With piloted vehicles, collision liability is straightforward. Usually, either one driver is at fault or the other. But with autonomous vehicles, things get decidedly more cloudy. And the way these debates shake out will have major repercussions for the insurance industry.

Recently, a pedestrian in Arizona was struck and killed by an autonomous vehicle operated by Uber. The incident is the first known instance of a fatality involving an autonomous vehicle. And how the courts determine any legal liability will affect insurers.

Experts believe the case is likely to pit the autonomous vehicle’s owner against the vehicle’s manufacturer, as well as the victim’s family. After all, in a collision between a robot and a human being, who is to blame?

And, how can insurance companies prepare for the very near future where autonomous vehicles and humans share the road together?

Measuring Risk and Safety With Autonomous Vehicles

Data is power, and that becomes even more true with autonomous vehicles. With so much gray area, insurance providers need as much information as they can get to accurately assess the risk autonomous vehicles pose.

“The question is whether self-driving vehicles increase or reduce the existing risks, not whether they can eliminate risk,” says Insurance Journal. Insurance companies need a reliable means of assessing the current risks human drivers pose. Then, they need to compare them with those of autonomous vehicles.

They “need to be programmed with instructions about how to behave when other vehicles do something out of the ordinary,” explains autonomous vehicle expert Srikanth Saripalli. And to do so, we need data about human driving behaviors – both ordinary, and unexpected.

Data and Autonomous Vehicle Insurance

When it comes time to make these decisions, Zendrive has the data insurance companies need.  Our 100 billion miles of driver data is more than the rest of the industry combined, and we’re gathering 10 billion additional miles each month.

This data, along with our A.I., enables Zendrive to develop 6 Driver Personas and how behavior behind the wheel affects insurance risk. By understanding these most common driver tendencies, insurance companies can better understand human driver behaviors, and use that information to assess the risk they pose to autonomous vehicles and vice versa.

AVs need to understand how humans drive in different conditions, seasons, locations, times of day, regions, and more. We’re unpredictable creatures. AVs need all the data they can gather to best predict our behaviors. And insurers need to know exactly what AVs understand about humans. That’s where Zendrive’s rich all-human data set can help insurers. AVs and humans will share the roads for decades to come, and knowledge is truly power.

Conclusion

The day will soon come when humans share the roads with autonomous vehicles.  And insurance companies will need smarter ways to assess risks, limit liability, and underwrite drivers – and autonomous vehicles themselves.

Zendrive’s data makes that a reality for insurers. And it’s only getting smarter.

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Cameron leads Product Marketing for Zendrive. He's a storyteller at heart with an analytical bent.

Cameron leads Product Marketing for Zendrive. He's a storyteller at heart with an analytical bent.