4 Reasons Why Self-Driving Cars Are a Big Deal

Breakthroughs in self-driving car technology are becoming more frequent, but the concept might still seem very far-off. Before you brush off the idea of driverless cars, thinking it won’t apply to your own life anytime soon, think again. It’s looking pretty likely that autonomous technology will be available for the masses in the next decade or so! If you are wondering why this is such a big deal, here are four ways that self-driving cars will revolutionize the way we get around.

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  1. Taxis (and Uber and Lyft) will be a lot cheaper. Since the cost of a driver will be removed from the equation, it will be much less expensive to operate taxis and all ridesharing platforms. That means cheaper rides for everyone! Because of the lower prices, many people will opt to take taxis versus driving their own car, which means there will be fewer cars on the road. This also means less traffic and less demand for parking. The best news? This is one of the most likely scenarios to happen soon, as Uber and Lyft are key proponents of autonomous technology and already putting forth substantial efforts into its development.
  2. Lives will be saved. Self-driving cars won’t be capable of doing risky (and illegal) things like speeding or drinking and driving, which means there will be far fewer accident-related deaths. In 2013, car accidents killed 32,000 people, which means we could save close to that many lives with the intelligence of self-driving cars.
  3. There will be less pollution. While we don’t know the exact specifications of self-driving cars, it’s presumed that they will have substantial energy efficiency benefits. A new report from the Intelligent Transportation Society is one of the first to quantify the benefits and projects a 2-4% reduction in oil consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions each year as “intelligent transportation systems” become available to the masses.
  4. The elderly will have more mobility. Self-driving cars will make it easier for the elderly and those who are vision impaired to get around since they will no longer have to rely on a driver to take them places. This will give them the freedom to move around according to their own schedules.

It’s pretty clear that the introduction of self-driving cars could have a significant impact on our everyday lives. Here at Metromile, we are especially excited to see how autonomous technology evolves and develops, as we are positioned to adapt our per-mile insurance model. Because we are able to segment periods of time (like with our Uber partnership where we can identify if a driver is driving for Uber or personal use), we’ll be able to help distinguish between when a car is controlled by a human or a computer. And if per-mile insurance is truly a future-proof concept, why not get started and start saving money today? Learn more at metromile.com/insurance.

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.

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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. (more…)

Predicting the Top Car Tech Trends

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.

car_technology_trends

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. (more…)

Safety, Savings and Why Self-Driving Cars Will Transform the Insurance Industry

We are hearing more and more about advancements in self-driving car technology and how it will revolutionize the way we get around. But what will the implications be on how (and if) we pay for car insurance? Advisory firm KPMG recently released a report detailing the impact self-driving cars will have on the insurance industry, and whether or not monthly premiums will become obsolete. While they foresee the size of the industry decreasing – as autonomous drivers are expected to be smarter and safer than their human counterparts – they also predict that companies who are positioned to adapt will see much success. As the first-movers in technology that allows segmentation of trips and the ability to base premiums off of exact mileage, we believe we will be one of the select few able and ready to conform to this rapidly changing automotive landscape.

self-driving car insurance

Many believe that the introduction of self-driving cars to consumers will bring about the most significant change to the automotive industry since its inception. One of the main reasons for this is the impact of autonomous car technology on safety. While the concept of self-driving cars may seem far off, we are already seeing early 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. Tesla also recently rolled out the long-awaited “Autopilot” software, using 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 will be imminent. And as these features are vetted and become more accessible to consumers, there will likely be a reduction in accidents and number of claims filed. In fact, the report predicts that if self-driving cars hit the road around 2020, there could be an 80% reduction in accident frequency by 2040.

What about the other 20%? If these self-driving cars are destined to be so smart, what would account for anything higher than zero? The truth is, accidents will never completely go away. It would be great if self-driving cars could prevent themselves from the harm of Mother Nature, but we don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon. And maybe one day they will be able to deter thieves or the damage caused by humans, but again that’s unlikely. Insurance will still be needed, but premiums will likely be lower as the claim frequency will be drastically reduced.

The report suggests that many insurance providers believe the adoption of self-driving cars is far off and are taking a “business as usual” approach, delaying any fundamental changes. But as our CEO Dan Preston says in the report, “nimble companies that offer innovative insurance products that address the needs of consumers in a rapidly changing driving landscape will be best positioned to succeed.” 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 if self-driving cars could be both safer and more affordable (from an insurance standpoint), what’s preventing an earlier introduction to consumers? The report suggests that there are eight key elements that will drive transformation: convergence of new autonomous technologies, capability accessibility, consumer adoption, improved infrastructure, regulatory permission, legal responsibility and mobility services. If you would like to dive in deeper to the elements that could drive change, download the free KPMG report here.

Self-Driving Cars & The Future of Car Insurance

There’s no denying it – introducing self-driving cars to consumers will spark a paradigm shift in the auto industry. But, as is typical for any groundbreaking innovation, there are some pushbacks that are delaying any “imminent takeover”. The government is slow to pass regulations allowing self-driving cars and consumers are wary of the implications. Are self-driving cars really that safe? And how expensive is a “robotic personal chauffeur” going to be? According to new research from Metromile and The Ferenstein Wire, these cars could save consumers $1,000 in car insurance every year. This might be the motivation needed to accelerate adaptation.

Self-Driving Car Insurance

Self-driving cars have a near-perfect driving record thus far, and the few times that they are involved in an accident, it’s typically a human at fault. Once we have welcomed these “futuristic” vehicles into our everyday lives, does the need for car insurance become obsolete? The answer is no, but it will be dramatically reduced. While there will be a near elimination of collision-related accidents (estimated at a 90% reduction), coverage will still be needed for things like break-ins, being hit by an uninsured motorist, and weather-related incidents. Our actuarial team here at Metromile developed an insurance pricing model which predicts consumers will pay an average of $250 per year with an annual savings of $1,000. The model is based on the typical driving record of someone licensed 20 years in San Francisco, driving 12k miles per year, and incorporates evidence from Google’s detailed accident report.

Self-driving cars are still not yet legal for consumers, but you can expect to see some traction as their safety and value continues to be proven. Here at Metromile, we are positioned to adapt our per-mile insurance model as these autonomous cars are introduced to the general public. Because we are able to segment periods of time (like with our Uber partnership where we can identify if a driver is driving for Uber or personal use), we’ll be able to help distinguish between when a car is controlled by a human or a computer. And if per-mile insurance is truly a future-proof concept, why not get started and start saving money today? Learn more at metromile.com/insurance.