In 2021, we will see the technology used in the motor industry changing, with more vehicles hitting the roads with more interconnected features, enhanced autonomous driver assistance, and electrified systems says Jon Dye, Director of Motor, QBE.
These emerging technologies and continuing trends present benefits in terms of safety and sustainability, but it’s important we deploy them in a controlled and considered way to ensure any new risks are fully understood.
Advanced Driver Assisted Systems (ADAS) have come a long way in recent years to include features such as automatic breaking and parking assistance. These technologies have huge potential in terms of safety. More recently we have seen the consultation on Automated Lane-Keeping Systems (ALKS) in cars. It may still seem far off, but this technology could be more prevalent on our roads as early as 2021. The question is how do we ensure the new capabilities, as well as the limitations, are understood.
One of the key issues is that in the majority of instances the technology is still not at a level to make all the relevant safety decisions for drivers all the time. Until we have fully autonomous vehicles the interaction and hand off between driver and vehicle control will be a crucial element to how we influence safety. Ensuring the driver understands what the vehicle is and isn’t capable of and being ready to assume control quickly should be a key safety consideration.
Ultimately, QBE and the insurance industry are fully supportive of the advancements in vehicle technology, provided its deployment is managed carefully and has the desired effect of reducing accidents as well as the many other benefits.
As older vehicles are replaced by newer ones, we will see more vehicles using interconnected technology. This creates a greater exposure to cyber risks including increased theft risks with thieves using technologies such as keyless entry to access vehicles. We may even see hackers taking control of those vehicles fitted with driver-assisted technology. The technology is evolving rapidly, and the challenge for the insurance industry is assessing and understanding these new risks, including how it responds to the future needs of its customers.
We will also see a growth in the uptake of electric vehicles as manufacturers and consumers seek greener options, as well as respond to the government call for greater use in order to reach CO2 emission targets. As an insurance industry, we must support these initiatives to help create a more sustainable mobility. In order for this to be a success, considerations need to be made as to whether we have the right infrastructure in place to be able to provide enough charging points, the capabilities of current electric cars insofar as battery capacity, and be aware that these vehicles can be more costly and take longer to repair.
There are key benefits to all of these technologies but making sure they are able to reduce risks instead of putting new ones into place will be critical as mobility continues to evolve.