The Advantages of Owning an Autonomous Car

Autonomous cars used to be something we only dreamed about, much like jetpacks and robotic butlers. They have come to fruition within the last decade in various stages of assisted technology. Fully autonomous cars have yet to become mainstream due to affordability and continued testing. There are many debates about the advantages and disadvantages of this type of technology. To date, the benefits seem to be significant.

Fewer accidents have occurred with autonomous vehicles at the helm. The reason is that human beings are fallible by nature. They are prone to distraction and emotions. In addition, a human’s reflex capabilities are not as efficient as a machine’s. With spatial technology, automated vehicles can also determine the correct distance to maintain, enabling quicker reaction time if the car ahead stops abruptly or a lane change occurs. 

Traffic jams are also decreased when driverless cars are used. There have been multiple studies done on test roads with platooning exercises, displaying how automated cars fall in line with a generous space cushion between them, eliminating the ebb and regular traffic flow. Sensors allow for on-ramp entry of vehicles by making space without impeding traffic flow, in addition to recognizing construction and detours in real-time. Rubbernecking will be a thing of the past because the machine will not have the human curiosity of distraction. Shockwave jams caused by drivers tapping on their breaks and creating a daisy-chain effect will also be obsolete.

Stress-free parking is another way that autonomous vehicles will help improve our daily lives. People can be dropped off and collected at a chosen location while the car seeks out a vacant parking spot in-between. This cuts down on fuel usage and the stress that comes from being late for appointments.

As humans evolve to completely autonomous travel, they will also discover newly-found spare time to get things done, much like train or air travel. This time can be used either for work or family, without the worry of safety along the way.

Safety and accessibility is something that AI-controlled cars can bring to all Americans. There are substantial numbers of elderly and invalided citizens who cannot provide their own means of transportation. For them, automated driving will not only be a life-saver, but it will also add dignity by providing them with a sense of independence and comfort. 

 

How AI Can Improve Car Safety Features

Artificial intelligence has been in the public eye since the late 1990s. That was the moment IBM’s Deep Blue became the first computer to beat a grand-master chess champion. In 2011, many people watched the Jeopardy! episode featuring the question-answer system Watson as it beat two former champions. With all of the discoveries made since then, machine learning has helped nearly every industry on earth evolve. One of the top ways AI has served us is by helping us to be safer on the roads.

Even the safest drivers in the world are not perfect. Humans are fallible by nature, and we do not possess the reaction time of a machine. Because of this, the luxury of machine assistance elevates our abilities to not only keep ourselves safe but also those around us. We already have some car technology that does a beautiful job of this by warning us about our proximity to other drivers or objects, whether on the move or trying to park. Smart headlights help reduce dangerous situations by adjusting to the conditions in real-time. On-board diagnostics can alert us to a problem before it becomes a more serious issue, thereby saving us money and keeping us out of harm’s way.

Smart cars of today not only have sensors giving a 360-degree view outside the vehicle, but they can also monitor a driver’s body position from within the car. If a vehicle senses the driver is leaning due to sleepiness, intoxication, or a medical issue, it can alert the driver with a warning signal. OnStar systems can also be called in an emergency, and some cars make it a hands-free option.

As cars become smarter with more advanced AI systems, there will be fewer overall road accidents. The combination of artificial intelligence and the speed and distance of 5G’s reach will enable civil engineers and traffic planners to create more efficient roads from an abundance of real-time data. Traffic lights will be automated to satisfy the current traffic flow, cutting down on the risk of accidents. As more cars become fully automated, they will join the collective device-to-device communication knowing the optimal distance length and speed to avoid collisions. 

For drivers and residents, that means maximizing efficiency while also having fewer cars sitting idly in traffic, which means less pollution for the area. From a broader, public safety perspective, it means fewer road incidents to free up emergency road access, in addition to a generally safer mode of transportation.

Emerging Car Tech for 2021

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) owns and produces the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Each year, the latest and greatest technological innovations are shown to an awaiting public. The automobile industry is full of new ideas and enhancements on existing ideas, mostly centered around human safety and environmental conservation. Technology is even being incorporated long before cars leave the factory floor. Robots have begun assisting humans by working alongside them in the manufacturing sector. 

The world of technology is driven by a desire for CASE mobility: connected, autonomous, shared and electrified vehicles. This is an area that is constantly evolving. One on-going topic is the subject of self-driving cars. Autonomous taxi services will exist in the future, and companies like Waymo are moving closer than ever to perfecting safety, navigation and ride-sharing.

Much of the excitement and investment in the auto industry has turned to electrification, with some car companies claiming that in the coming years, a large percentage of their fleets will be electric vehicles or hybrid cars. The promise of cleaner air and lower carbon footprints has made electrification enticing. The industry still has a lot to work through, however, including placing more charging solutions in both cities and more rural areas.

AI-powered cockpits are going to be able to detect and protect drivers through facial recognition and palm print recognition . These will help personalize the driver and passenger experience through the same central panel, and a 3D multi-panel display and biometric-interactive system will allow the driver to control devices and see the car functions through head tilts and smiles. As 5G becomes more available, more services will become available as well to enhance the passenger experience. Some cars will come standard with connected subscriptions and infotainment packages, for example.

For people who want to have Alexa in their car alongside the Siri and Google Assistant crowds, Amazon now has Echo Audio available for in-car commands. Far-field speech recognition makes it possible for the device to recognize natural language in a noisy environment by using an eight-microphone arrangement. Passengers can check the news, weather, manage calendar events or make phone calls, all hands-free. They can even stream content from all the mainstream sources. Dashcams have been giving people peace of mind for several years. The latest iterations of this technology will offer wide-angle high-definition and be able to record and save footage if it detects an accident has occurred. Even the connection is unique, opting for a dedicated Wi-Fi to allow drivers to view a live-feed of the camera, as well as adjust settings and download or share footage. 

 

How AI Can Revolutionize Cars

Just like many other industries, artificial intelligence is making a huge change in the way we look at cars. Not just in the private sector, but also as a newly-emerging competitor for taxi and delivery services, especially when it comes to self-driving autonomous vehicles. Contrary to popular belief, the definition of an autonomous car really falls within a spectrum of definitions, depending on the level of machine/human collaboration. At its most basic, there is automation for driver assistance. This is when a system merely assists the driver’s motions but does not control anything itself. An example of driving assistance would be parking sensors. At the more advanced levels, the car and the human would each take turns controlling the car. This is something that used to feel like science fiction but is now a reality.

Self-driving cars increase the amount of power given to an artificially intelligent system, as opposed to relying solely on a human component. Sensors are a big part of the equation when it comes to self-driving cars. The system gets most of its input from real-world data that is being rapidly accumulated from hundreds of sensors located all over the vehicle. In today’s day and age, there are different levels of data input and control. Looking at highly automated and fully automated, the key difference is that humans still run a highly automated system and they choose to hand over temporary control. A fully automated system, however, is one that is making the machine the primary user. The vehicle is solely system-based. A human’s presence is still needed, but they do not interfere with any functions. A completely automated car is one that requires no assistance whatsoever from a driver as it navigates from point A to point B. When people refer to a robocar, the vehicle has enough sensors to make decisions based on its environment in order to deliver passengers safely to their destination. 

In addition to removing the worry of control, AI is seeking to appeal to generations that no longer want the burden of ownership, either. Many millennials choose shared economies and the newer pay-to-play services such as streaming over DVD rentals, rideshares over car rentals, and city bikes over buying their own. Likewise, the concept of private automobile ownership will seem archaic within the next two decades. 

 

Car Safety Features That Can Save Lives

Today’s cars are getting more and more intelligent. This isn’t in reference to the machinery itself, but rather the artificial intelligence that’s being incorporated into it. Cars of the future will no longer just be a simple means of transport. They will work alongside the driver to promote maximum efficiency and safety. That being said, there are responsibilities that people will still have in order to let the cars evolve. We are still miles away from having a fully automated system in place for all standard, affordable vehicles. 

One technological advancement that has already saved many people from potential accidents is the concept of sensor technology. This is essentially like having an extra pair of eyes on the top and sides of your car that can compensate for human limitations such as blind spots. It can also alert a driver if other cars start drifting into their lane. Despite all of this assistance, however, it is still vital that the driver maintain a nonstop vigilant line of focus while driving. In addition, cars will have reverse camera technology on display in front of them. This will enable drivers to see what’s behind them as they are backing up.

Machine learning and vision assistance are hot button topics these days when discussing AI and the automobile industry.  One major cause of automobile death is distraction. This could be a sleepy truckdriver or a teenager texting and driving, but the result is the same. Some AI firms have developed a way of detecting when drivers lose focus, and it initiates a series of suggestions, ranging from suggesting a break to gradually slowing down the vehicle.

In a sense, partial automation has already existed for quite some time. Cruise control has been around since the late 1940s, and power steering since the 1960s. Both of these features still require alertness frmo the driver and an instant ability to retake control if necessary.

One major caveat to technology is the learning curve. A driver is the worst person to ask to participate in a focus group to relearn a formerly simple task like changing A/C controls. Once technology itself ends up being the distraction, the message is lost. 

AI’s Influence on Our Lives

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer just a faraway concept being speculated about in futuristic stories. Smart machines and computer learning are very real concepts that are already interwoven with many aspects of our daily lives. While some people still fear the unknown future of relinquishing control to emotionless entities, there are some tasks for which logic-based decision making is perfectly designed. 

People who have the luxury of amassing jewelry often have to consult an expert to analyze the value of a gem, such as a diamond. There are many factors to take into account, such as the four C’s: carat, cut, clarity, and color. The average eye, even with the right magnifying tools, can’t always be perfect. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. ROSI is the world’s first digital gemologist and it uses a very special system called Watson. Developed at IBM research labs, Watson is a question-answering computer system that is capable of understanding and answering questions posed in natural language. This means it can converse with humans. In addition to using this tool, ROSI incorporates a proprietary algorithm to analyze millions of diamonds worldwide within seconds. The center diamond is then chosen based on millions of calculations and ultimately the multi-dimensional analysis tool is used to offer the best result at the maximum value.

Auto insurance is something that is inevitable for any driver, but the costs can change, depending on certain factors. There are still costly matters that rely on people’s perceptions, such as claims, and it’s often one person’s word against another’s. In addition, many auto insurance providers have to deal with fraudulent claims that lead to lost revenue. Artificial intelligence is now being used to not only save drivers from needless premium increases, but it also prevents cases of fraud. AVA is Metromile’s automated claims assistant. This app can be used in the case of an incident without having to speak to a person. The opt-in sensor data can reconstruct the accident scene to determine where the fault lies and can lead to rapid collision damage compensation. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another way that AI is influencing our lives. Before this, our computers functioned through a human-to-computer connection. The interconnectedness of computers and digital machines means they now can use unique identifiers to transfer data without requiring humans at all.

Choosing the Right Insurance Plan For You

Each year, millions of Americans make decisions about which insurance plans to sign up for. When it comes to insurance plans, there are many factors to consider. There are state-run and federally-run exchanges. Within these marketplaces are different plans such as HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS. These determine what in-network means and how much you will be spending out-of-pocket. 

Contrary to popular belief, you need to force yourself to look beyond monthly premiums when comparing different insurance plans. Most people think that premiums are the only thing that matters and deductibles are associated with hypothetical emergency care. They take into account their age and the likelihood of disease or an accident. The truth is that deductibles are a very real fact of life that needs to be taken seriously. In addition to deductibles, co-payments and prescriptions can also add up. Everything needs to be taken into account when deciding on a plan.

Keeping in mind all of the unknowns about the future, experts recommend that you should use what you currently know about your health needs as a base point. If you have a doctor you like, for example, then it’s important to choose a plan that keeps him in-network. Likewise, if you tend to use a certain prescription drug by name, look for a plan that covers them. One of the benefits of searching HealthCare.gov allows you to add your provider and your prescription drugs as you browse plans to see whether they’re covered. A tool available on HealthCare.gov acts as an estimator for yearly costs, based on a number of factors, including a plan’s deductible, copays for doctor’s visits and specialists, and how often you anticipate visiting the doctor in the coming year.

When you search for health insurance on the internet, you may stumble on short term plans that advertise much lower monthly premiums, but don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If something looks too good to be true, it most definitely is. You could be missing out on important coverage like prenatal and mental health treatment. A new tool this year has been added to help potential customers find the perfect match without being scammed. Following the methodology of Yelp and Amazon, people can read reviews and look at a star rating system to see which plans to avoid. 

 

Self-Driving Cars and Auto Insurance

amigo_mga_self_driving_cars_and_auto_insuranceAuto insurance agencies know a lot about traffic, how it works, what causes it, and how to best ensure drivers based on factors like age, college GPA, income, and color of the vehicle. Traffic engineers know well that no matter what they do to direct and control traffic, human error is hard to account for. For example, we have the classic dilemma of when to merge in the event of a road closure or construction. Do you merge over as soon as you see that the road is closing soon, or do you wait until your lane is cut off to merge?

In his landmark work on traffic engineering entitled, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), Tom Vanderbilt helps readers understand the nuances of what makes drivers behave the way they do and how city planners, construction crews, navigation apps, and drivers themselves try to account for this in their day-to-day lives. From an unexpected demonstration to someone distracted by a song on the radio, it’s hard to account for human error when making plans that have to do with transportation.

What if we take the human driver out of the equation, though? For the most part, auto insurance covers the damage drivers cause to their own cars and to the people, vehicles, or other property involved in the accident. It’s been demonstrated that self-driving cars are not immune from getting into accidents and causing havoc. In 2016, a self-driving Tesla car was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. Who, then, bears the responsibility?

Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, which recently acquired Geico insurance, believes that the onus of protection will shift from drivers to those who manufacture and program the self-driving cars. Already the state of Michigan has passed laws that require the automakers to assume responsibility for any accident that occurred because of a self-driving car.

Since it’s common knowledge that most of the traffic issues that plague our day to day lives are the results of human error, many believe that automation will reduce the instance of accidents. However, if automakers are required to bear the responsibility for insuring these autonomous vehicles, they may experience a disincentive to produce them, since the costs would swell as the technology’s bugs get worked out. Thus, the speed of technology development would plateau and human-caused traffic accidents would continue to occur.

There are a lot more questions than answers right now regarding what will happen as cars are no longer controlled by fallible people. Insurance companies, automakers, and legislators will continue to debate where the burden belongs, but in the meantime, auto insurance will continue to cover must human error.

Insurance & Your Engagement

1In the wake of Valentine’s Day, Facebook is flooded with happy couples who’ve recently become engaged and need to start making wedding plans. With that new ring, though, comes a flood of insurance questions and potential policies you need to consider. Below are a few ways you can protect yourself, your spouse-to-be, and your big day.

Ring Insurance: Many insurance agencies offer policies specific to fine jewelry, including precious metals, rare gems, antique pieces, and famous costume pieces (for example, Beyonce’s golden crown). Some will even insure “smart” jewelry. For engagement rings in particular, it’s important to find a policy that protects you from damage, theft, and loss, as all of these are common for such a small yet valuable piece of jewelry. You can often insure the ring directly from the jeweler from whom you bought it, or you can take out a policy on it separately on your own insurance plan. Especially for beach proposals, engagement rings are easily lost in the sand, in a beach towel, or to the vast ocean, so be sure to protect yourself against losing such a priceless investment.

Wedding Day Insurance: Weddings are expensive, and the last thing you want is to lose all the money you put down because of an unforeseen accident. If, for instance, there’s inclement weather, a parent suddenly becomes very sick, or the venue abruptly becomes unusable. Before purchasing insurance, check with each vendor, as caterers often have their own insurance. Depending on your policy, wedding insurance usually covers the site, the weather, vendor no-shows, sickness, and military deployment. Unfortunately, though, wedding insurance policies don’t usually cover cold feet, so if you or your betrothed have a last minute change-of-heart, you may be out of luck covering the costs of the wedding.

Auto insurance: Once you’re married, you may combine your auto insurance into one policy. For couples under the age of 30, you could receive up to a 25% discount for getting married, since it demonstrates responsibility. Check with your insurance provider about the impacts of potentially combining your policies.

Health Insurance: There are more options for how to deal with health insurance once you’re married, and there are a lot of factors to consider. You could each just keep your individual insurance policies, or one of you could join the other’s policy. This might be tedious, but you and your betrothed need to sit down and consider the details of each of your insurance policies and how adding a spouse would affect the deductibles (which I’ve written about before) and out-of-pocket costs. You also need to consider what would happen if you decide to start a family and whose insurance would handle such an addition better.
There are lots of ways to protect yourself, your stuff, and the person you love when it comes to planning for a future together. Always read the fine print when deciding on a policy, and always think long term.

Car Insurance Coverage Limits: How To Pick The Right One For You

Car Insurance Coverage Limits- How To Pick The Right One For You

When it comes to your car insurance policy, you have quite a few options. It can be difficult to figure out which car insurance coverage limits are right for you. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into consideration. Here are a few things you’ll need to think about when deciding on the right car insurance coverage limits:

  1. Car Payments

You may be required by your loan or leasing company to add comprehensive and collision to your policy. The only thing you’ll need to decide on is your deductible, since the limits of these coverages are equal to the value of the car. You may also want loan/lease gap coverage. If your car is totaled while your insurance settlement is less than the amount you still owe, you may have to pay down a car you can no longer drive. Gap coverage will help bridge the gap between what you still owe and the value of your car.

  1. Assets

If you’re a homeowner with a lot of financial assets, you may want to increase your liability coverage limits above the legal minimums. If you’re in an accident that you caused and your liability limits are too low to cover your expenses, the other party may go after your assets in court. The higher your limits, the more you will be able to protect your assets. If you have a high net worth, you may want to get umbrella insurance in order to protect the assets you’ve attained.

  1. Spending Money

If you set your coverage limit high and your deductible low, you’ll only have to pay a small amount out of pocket after an accident or claim. When setting your coverage limits and deductibles, figure out the amount that you can comfortably afford.

  1. Health Insurance

If your health coverage does not pay for accident-related medical expenses, you may want to add medical payments coverage to your policy. Even if your health coverage does cover these kinds of expenses, your medical payments coverage could assist you in paying the health plan’s deductible. Make sure you look into your health insurance plan before figuring out how much medical coverage to add to your policy.

  1. Driving Ability

If you’re a cautious driver who rarely gets ticketed, you might want a higher deductible and a lower rate. If you’re not a careful driver, you’ll want to consider higher limits because they provide more protection.

  1. The Car You Drive

If you have a new car, you’ll want vehicle-protecting coverages like collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage helps cover damage to your own car while comprehensive coverage protects against theft and more. Those who drive older cars may benefit less from these types of coverage since repairs after an accident might barely exceed your deductible, so you’d be shouldering most of the cost anyway.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to getting the right coverage limit on your car insurance. If you think long and hard about these aspects, you’ll be able to make the correct choice for you.