The Best Car Tech Trends of 2015… and Now 2016

The past year was big regarding transportation innovations, and we anticipate 2016 to be even more momentous. As we look forward to a new year of breakthroughs, let’s take a look at the technology that is already paving the way.


Consumers take control with the connected car.
The internet-of-things is in full force, and we don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon. One of the key drivers of this trend lies within the automobile industry, and connected car technology is already redefining the way we get around. In 2015, Microsoft, Google and Apple all announced plans for proprietary connected car platforms, bringing mobile phone functionality to your car’s console, signifying that this will likely become the norm very soon.

This technology has still not reached the masses, so if you don’t have one of the brand-new smart cars touting fancy touch screen dashboards or augmented reality, you can still enjoy the connected car experience with recent innovations. Gone are the days when you had to struggle with a clicker to open your garage, now the door can automatically open upon your arrival! In fact, the connected car industry, including apps specifically designed for cars and enhanced navigation, is estimated to grow to nearly $290 billion by 2020. Here at Metromile, we are definitely on top of this trend. All of our customers receive the Pulse, which plugs into a car’s OBD port to measure exact mileage and provide smart services like a car locator and a car health monitor. By using technology to measure exact mileage, we can save our low-mileage customers a lot of money.

The automotive industry capitalizes on big data.
Big data is another trend that continued to gain significant traction in 2015, and just like connected car technology, it is having a huge impact in the automotive industry. Manufacturers, insurers and transportation providers all have access to massive amounts of data, and if analyzed and applied correctly, can revolutionize the way they operate. Service and warranty repair data, user sentiment surrounding specific features and real-world vehicle performance are all things that can be measured to inform future car models. Even supply chain management can benefit from a better usage of big data — workflow software is already helping to uncover potential flaws while a car part is still in the blueprint stage. As Metromile’s CEO Dan Preston points out in a recent Huffington Post piece, the insurance sector is surprisingly antiquated when it comes to big data, but at Metromile, we are capitalizing on it by basing the monthly bill off of exact mileage.

New advancements in self-driving car technology.
It’s no surprise that the consumer adoption of self-driving cars could bring the most significant change to the automotive industry since its inception. While the concept might seem far off (are we ready for robotic chauffeurs!?), there are already plenty of advancements in safety technology. The buzzed-about Tesla S has features such as lane drift detection, where the steering wheel vibrates if the driver changes lanes without signaling, and automatic emergency braking, where sensors will detect if a collision is impending and brake automatically. Its Autopilot software uses sensors to keep the car within a lane, maintain a safe distance between cars and even change lanes. While the driver’s hands are still required to be on the wheel, as the efficacy of these innovations is proven, a hands-free future is imminent. A recent KPMG report predicts that if self-driving cars hit the road around 2020, there could be an 80% reduction in accident frequency by 2040.

As for the other 20%, Coverage will still be needed for things like break-ins, being hit by an uninsured motorist and weather-related incidents. Insurance will still be needed, but premiums will likely be lower as the claim frequency will be drastically reduced. Here at Metromile, we are already able to segment trips for Uber drivers, identifying when they are driving for Uber (and therefore covered by Uber insurance) and when they are driving for personal use. This model is something that could likely be adapted as self-driving cars are introduced to consumers.
So, there you have it. There were a ton of innovations in 2015 making car ownership easier than ever, and we sure aren’t slowing down. If we’ve piqued your interest about how we are using technology to save low-mileage drivers a lot of money with per-mile insurance, you can learn more here!