Self-Driving Cars & Trucks in Business

The demand for self-driving cars has been ever rising in recent years. Many factors go into this demand, including convenience and safety. Yet, many forget one other factor – the effect self-driving technology can have on a business.

Developing alongside self-driving cars is the concept of self-driving trucks. The economy is still heavily reliant on trucks as a delivery method for necessary products. With that in mind, it becomes easier to see how having a fleet of self-driving trucks may be appealing to businesses.

Economic Impact

According to experts, about seventy percent of all goods are delivered via trucks, generating billions of dollars for the economy. However, the venture is not without cost. Truck upkeep and driver wages are not insignificant.

It is believed that the cost of maintaining a self-driving truck would be less than the combined cost of maintenance and pay for a standard truck. Additionally, drivers can only legally drive so many hours in a day, where a self-driving truck would not have those issues.

The potential for increased profits is there – and businesses want in. Kodiak Robotics, Waymo, Volvo, Tesla, Embark, and TU Simple are all working hard to develop their own versions of self-driving trucks. 

Increased Safety

As with the need to develop self-driving cars for consumer safety, there is a safety concern for self-driving trucks. According to Professor Robert W. Peterson of the Center for Insurance Law and Regulation at Santa Clara University School of Law, over ninety percent of accidents are caused by user error.

Businesses are hoping to increase the overall safety of the roads – and their employees – by switching to self-driving trucks. It will also reduce the wear and tear that drivers must go through.

Other Initiatives

More companies than ever are experimenting with self-driving technology as a way of doing business. For example, Amazon spent some time considering this (along with drones) as a delivery method.

Now, Domino’s is testing out their own form of automated delivery: Nuro. Their goal is to have deliveries be easy, safe, and an overall enhanced experience for customers. However, not many customers will enjoy this particular experience right now, as it is still limited.

Walmart is another company testing the waters of self-driving technology. They’ve joined forces with Argo AI and Ford Motor to try and create a new form of a home delivery system. If it works, it will revolutionize the way people shop (and receive their goods). 

How Vehicle Technology is Building a More Sustainable Future

The race to create a sustainable car has been ongoing for decades – and it doesn’t look like it will be ending anytime soon. The desire to develop the subsequent functioning yet highly sustainable vehicle has increased right alongside the demand.

Lately, most auto manufacturers have put their attention towards electric vehicles. Given that electricity is a renewable energy source, this makes complete sense. Yet, it is not the only tactic that manufacturers are considering.

Electric Vehicles

Electric and vehicles, also known as EVs, are growing exponentially common these days. This is partially due to the government incentives available across the globe. Currently, the EV market is expected to grow at a CAGR exceeding twenty-one percent between 2019 and 2030. 

Despite the rising demand, a few problems are facing electric vehicles. For one thing, there is currently no standard among charging stations. While that may be a tolerable problem for smaller techs such as phones, it does not govern longevity for something as significant as a car. CharIN is one of several companies trying to encourage universal standards for charging, but it will take time.

Another focus for further developing EVs is the battery itself. This is the new heart of a car, where all of the power is stored. Currently, EVs depend on lithium-ion batteries, which means factors such as temperature and over-changing are legitimate concerns.

Battery Second Life

As mentioned above, finding greener solutions to deal with batteries is a must. One short-term solution, pushed by Analog Devices, is to repurpose spent batteries. Contrary to popular belief, batteries that have worn out from powering cars all day still have a bit of power in them. It isn’t enough to power a vehicle, but it is enough to provide a bit of electricity to those that don’t have it. Suddenly, that otherwise wasted energy can be used to provide cooking fuel to those that need it most. 

Green Tires

Believe it or not, greener tires are another consideration when it comes to making more sustainable cars. Rubber is not a sustainable product, so creating cars based entirely on this material is not practical or eco-friendly.

However, finding an alternative to rubber has become quite a challenge. Instead, companies are trying to find other ways to offset their carbon footprint. Time will tell which solution wins out.

 

Can the Latest Tech Lower Your Car Insurance Rates?

With the rise of safe driving technology, one question on everyone’s mind is how will this affect insurance rates? Many are hopeful that better collision prevention will, in turn, reduce premiums. While others are concerned that the increase in tech costs will outweigh the potential benefits.

These days, people have high expectations for what technology can do for them. People also expect it to help them save money – and there are precedents to back this assumption up. Better technology has allowed for energy (and thus cost) saving alternatives, among other options. 

According to a study run by PwC, up to forty-one percent of consumers would walk away from an insurance company that failed to offer high-quality digital capabilities. In other words, if their insurance isn’t going to work with their tech, they’re not interested.

Making Drivers Safer

People today have access to technology that makes them safer. Motion and range sensors combine to create collision prevention technology, while cameras help drivers watch their blindspots.

It’s easy to assume that the tech designed to make us safer actually works. Studies have shown that while some technology has worked hard to make us safer – other forms provide too much distraction. In other words – the technology is only effective when those behind the wheel are also trying to be safe.

Additional Expenses

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Yes, driver safety tech can help keep people safe – and thus, theoretically should reduce car insurance premiums. However, upon closer inspection, there’s one glaring problem with this premise.

The technology used to make drivers safer does not come cheaply, which means that when accidents do happen, the overall repair and replacement costs are higher. This means that most drivers are not likely to see a significant drop in their premiums.

Reducing Costs

Thankfully, there are a few alternatives for reducing insurance rates. For example, drivers can opt into customized insurance plans. In other words, a driver grants permission to have all of their driving data compiled and turned into one concise plan – no need to pay or unneeded insurance.

A study from the University of British Columbia found that people are not only willing to have insurance companies monitor their driving for customized plans – but they’re safer drivers because of it. It turns out that knowing somebody is watching your every move is all it takes to make a driver just a little bit more cautious. 

Blockchain Data and Car Insurance

The insurance industry has been working hard to stay up to date with modern technology. Already the industry is making use of predictive analytics to help create customized plans.

This raises the question of how blockchain technology can help the industry. A blockchain is a way to securely store information. The highlight of this method would be the inability to change data once it has been established. In other words – hacking and malicious attempts at alterations will not work.

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are but one of the ways that blockchain data and car insurance companies have found a perfect balance. Contracts are a part of daily life – especially for insurance companies. A smart contract is simply a more advanced version of the original. 

In this instance, they are digitally signed and stored through secure digital means (blockchain data). All parties involved in the contract, including the neutral third party, can access this data.

Due to the digital nature of smart contracts, it allows for a certain amount of automation. A computer can look at the contract, and if the terms have been met, activate the appropriate next step.

Advantages of Blockchain Data

Many advantages come from blockchain technology, including the information already mentioned in the section above. Digital contracts allow for ease of access – both for the insurers and the insured.

In turn, this helps erase confusion, increase communication, and, more importantly – ensure accurate information. For example, fraudulent claims will dwindle, as all relevant data will be stored in one location. To put it another way, it’ll be simpler than ever to catch fraudulent claims. 

The customer will also have higher levels of protection, as the data will be stored with a neutral third party. This will help ensure that the insurance companies hold up their end of the deal and leave avenues for when things do not happen according to plan.

Insurance companies can use this ready access to data to store client details, going beyond what is typical these days. Data such as driving habits, traffic records, and accidents can all be easily (and safely) stored in one location. 

While that may not sound like a significant advantage – it is. All of the data being in one place would further encourage customized plans, which would once again benefit both parties.

Predictive Analytics and Car Insurance

With the way technology has been improving, it would inevitably begin impacting every industry out there—even the insurance industry, where developments such as predictive analytics have been making waves.

Predictive analytics is a form of machine learning that uses data (usually in the form of statistics and historical data) and algorithms to identify patterns and future possibilities. When it comes to insurance, that can make a world of difference for insurers and clients alike.

How It Works

As a whole, predictive analytics has been a growing trend, with many different industries trying unique ways to apply the technology. Predictive analytics has become so common that anyone spending any time online has likely come across it. Predictive analytics play a part in ad generation, search engine optimization, and website recommendations. And it’s all based on an individual user’s history.

Predictive Analytics Meets Car Insurance

When it comes to car insurance, there’s a lot that predictive analytics can do to help improve the industry. For one thing, it can (and will) allow for a more personalized experience. Gone are the days when an insurance plan was one size fits all.

These days, machine learning can grind through a driver’s history and develop a custom insurance plan uniquely suited to them. For example, a safe driver with a record of following speed limits, wearing seat belts, and avoiding tickets can rest easy knowing that they got the best deal possible.

Applications of Predictive Analytics

The possibilities for predictive analytics don’t end there. That’s the beauty of this customization engine. Insurance companies can use this technology to compile crash data and even flag fraudulent claims. It all depends on the data they feed the program.

Marketing campaigns have already begun to make heavy use of predictive analytics, and soon insurance companies could be doing the same thing. Let’s go back to that online example from earlier. A person hops online, does some browsing, and calls it a day. The next day, they get an email advertising a sale on an item they were looking at. This is not a coincidence but rather a carefully orchestrated plan.

Insurance companies can do the same thing – marketing the right plan to the right clients and knowing how to best approach them. Some clients prefer to be approached via email, others via phone or text. Machine learning can help process that information and create a personalized plan for thousands of potential clients.

Auto Tech Driving Insurance Explained

Our interactions with cars change every year as new technology comes out to improve the experience. As such, auto insurance must find ways to adapt right alongside the industry. This is no mean feat and takes a lot of careful planning. 

Most recently, auto insurance companies have begun to develop automated ways of measuring and creating new plans. There are many benefits to this feature, including highly customizable plans.

The Complication

There is one complication with the plan to go full automation when it comes to insurance: people’s willingness. According to CCC Information Services, Inc.’s Crash Course report, until recently, most drivers were unwilling to share such detailed and personal information.

What sort of information do these metrics require? The predominant concern revolves around mileage. New features allow for easy personal data collection, including driving details, travel speed, and location.

Up until recently, only 41% of those surveyed were willing to share their data. That number has gone up to 54% and is likely due to the changes that the pandemic brought with it. Primarily the reduced time spent in cars.

One of the main concerns from users, unsurprisingly, is the breach of privacy. Specifically, these features would require drivers to give up information such as where they at which times, which can be a deal-breaker for many. According to a study run by Pew Research Center, only 37% of Americans found the offer appealing, even when taking benefits into account.

Benefits

Despite these concerns, there are plenty of benefits that come with auto tech driving insurance. Primarily, the data used to create an individual’s plan would be based on their driving – and theirs alone.

Instead of filling out several complicated forms, drivers can instead give access to their data metrics, allowing insurance companies to create an accurate and detailed plan that fits the users’ needs. It sounds complicated, but in truth, it makes things simpler. 

This practice is called usage-based insurance. In practice, it works through an app on your phone, which then transmits data to your insurance company. Most companies experimenting with the tech provide rewards for using the app – rewards that get better the more you use it.

Insurtech Explained and What It Means for Car Insurance

The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way many industries operate; there’s no escaping it. Even the insurance industry is facing change, thanks to the creation of Insurtech, aka Insurance Technology.

What is Insurtech? 

Insurtech is a term for a broad range of technology, all of which is applied towards the insurance industry. More specifically, it’s the use of artificial intelligence and blockchains in the insurance industry. This applies to car, medical, life, and home. 

Insurtech was created to save insurance companies money, streamline the process, and make better and customized customer service. In the last few years, the Insurtech industry has boomed. New startups and older businesses alike are competing to create the best models, and it’s altering the way we look at insurance.

What Are the Different Types of Insurtech?

There are now several different types of Insurtech, a variety formed from the many different needs of the insurance industry. Each style has a different specialty, and there’s no need for mutual exclusivity between companies and types.

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning – Used for personalized services, competitive pricing models, predictive analytics, and chatbots.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) – IoT is used for omnichannel communication and telemetry-based insurance policies and claim processing. 
  • Blockchain – Used to prevent fraud, create smart contracts, and help to track sensitive data.
  • Robots/Drones/Etc. – Can assist in designing programs, plans, find risk factors, operate where it is unsafe for humans, and create automation.

How Does Insurtech Work?

The end goal of Insurtech is convenience and efficiency. This technology has been designed to help both internally and externally. Meaning that the insurance companies and their clients both gain an advantage through its use.

Theoretically, Insurtech will make insurance more accessible, lower costs, decrease wait times, and allow for customized claims. All while reducing payroll costs, as there isn’t a person behind all of this.

What Are the Benefits of Insurtech?

Many of the benefits for Insurtech have already been mentioned above. They include: customized insurance policies, reduced run costs for insurance companies, better claims management, and better customer-facing tech, including apps and chatbots.

What Are the Concerns of Insurtech?

As with any rising technology, there will naturally be some concerns to go along with it. The dominant concern regarding Insurtech is privacy. Consider all of the private and sensitive information that insurance companies must collect and store. The introduction of any new technology always increases concern regarding the safety of this sort of information.

 

Personalizing the Auto Insurance Industry with the Help of AI

Every day digital advancements change the way we look at and interact with the world. New ways of sharing information and collating data have made things in some ways simpler, even in complex areas such as auto insurance.

Advancements in AI (Artificial Intelligence) are the most likely to bring a great chance to auto insurance. Currently, we are looking at an insurance market that has changed very little over the years. The real question is, how much longer can stagnation last?

AI still has a long way to go before it is on par with the beings portrayed in science fiction novels. Still, there are plenty of ways for modern AI to help the insurance world. AI processes can help with pricing, handling claims, and fraud detection, just to name a few options.

The advantage of using AI to set prices comes with the ability to create individualized and personalized policies. An insurance company that employs this tactic will provide custom quotes curtailed to the clients’ needs, creating a competitive advantage. 

Artificial intelligence could easily customize these policies based on user location, marital status, family status, the likelihood of premium charges, driving history, and more. Most notably, it could also make sure of IoT (Internet of Things) to draw in more personalized data.

Given the potential power of AI, the level of personalization is limitless. The policy could go beyond personal records and look into the car the coverage is intended for. Here crash and injury data could quickly come into play, as well as automotive history.

As for handling claims? It wouldn’t take much effort to automate the handling of certain claims through the use of artificial intelligence. This would save time and money in the long run and give clients a faster customer service experience.

In turn, this would shorten the time required for settling claims. This will result in happier customers, but it will help limit fraud cases in the process. This is a vital element, as insurance fraud is currently costing companies around $40 billion per year. AI can easily detect fraudulent cases, diminish risks, and streamline the process for legitimate cases.

 

What Is Usage-based Insurance (UBI)?

The traditional model of vehicle insurance has always been geared towards rewarding good drivers. Often, discounts are applied after a length of time without any claims or tickets filed. Specific demographics are at an automatic advantage because of the law of averages surrounding age and location. These conventional stereotypes are somewhat outdated and fail to take into account how much society has changed. A male in his 20’s will pay a much higher premium than a woman in her 50’s, regardless of both having a clean driving record. It will take the male driver much longer to prove that they are competent and trustworthy enough to have a lower premium.

 

Usage-based insurance (UBI) was introduced about ten years ago. Since then, over eight million UBI insurance policies were created. The appeal of UBI is that it looks at insurance in a completely different way. Additional factors are taken into account beyond demographics, such as how many miles you drive and whether you tend to stick to speed limits. Your driving habits will impact how much you pay, in addition to your vehicle type and location. This concept can be very favorable for both insurance companies and drivers. The incentive to drive carefully means fewer claims being filed, and drivers benefit from lower rates. 

 

Depending on whether you chose the pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) or pay-how-you-drive (PHYD) package, different metrics are measured by UBI’s telematics. These telecommunication devices monitor vehicles via cellular, GPS, and onboard diagnostics and then display those movements on a computerized map. Data is also transmitted to the insurance company for review, and it is broken down into specific details, depending on whether you have a PAYD or PHYD policy. PAYD programs will usually charge a monthly fee on top of a per-mile charge. PHYD is more invasive, monitoring how you brake, accelerate, slow down, and turn corners. People who opt-in for UBI policies benefit from multiple discount opportunities. Some agencies reduce rates as a signing-up bonus. 

 

While telematics is a helpful tool for measuring real-time vehicle data, it doesn’t provide driver data. Newer iterations are software-based, saving everyone money by not having to pay for telematics devices. Mobile telematics is also more accurate because of its ability to measure distracted driving moments and offer rates based on an individual’s driving habits.

The Future of Car Insurance Beyond 2021

The last year forcibly changed industries worldwide. No industry escaped, including the car insurance industry. While much of the world is gearing up for a bounce-back, all evidence indicates that the automotive industry will be one of the last to recover. 

According to a TransUnion survey, the impacts of the pandemic will linger well past 2021 for insurance agencies worldwide. Experts are even coming to believe that these changes may be permanent on some levels.

Digital Transition

Every industry has been working hard to adapt along with the discovery of technology. The pandemic forced this transition along faster, as general populations sought digital resources for their daily needs.

Bain & Company looked into how this might impact car insurance, and they found that the digital insurance sector had grown by around 20%. While that number may balance out after pandemic measures are reduced, it is just as likely that this has become the new norm.

Furthermore, people are seeking new avenues of finding, comparing, and choosing car insurance opportunities. The call to obtain quotes through websites has been steadily increasing. The insurance companies that meet those needs are doing better than those without.

Advancing Technology

Thanks to developments such as artificial intelligence, loT, and even self-driving cars, the automobile industry has been facing many technological advancements. As these technologies become more commonplace, insurance quotes and companies will have to adjust alongside them.

Theoretically, many of the advancements being made are helping to make the driving experience a safer one. 3D-LiDAR can detect potential collisions while assisting in smaller processes, such as parking. Removing the human element helps to reduce mistakes, and thus, accidents.

However, there are certain risks involved as well. This will require any insurance agency to seek the appropriate data to keep up with risk assessment modules. 

Generational Shifts

The generation dominating the insurance world will soon be shifting. For years it had been the Boomers and Gen X providing most clients in the insurance market. Naturally, with those generations came certain expectations, experiences, and regulations.

However, the number of Millennials in the insurance market has been steadily growing. Soon, their numbers will surpass those of their elders, meaning that the market will soon shift to cater to their demands and expectations instead. 

Millennials are part of the force behind the demand for better technology and online opportunities. Insurance companies will have to make an active effort to keep up with these demands or risk falling out of practice.