Autonomous cars

point the way ahead

Volvo autonomous driving
Volvo XC90 Drive Me test vehicle

THE boss of Volvo Cars has claimed the multi-billion pound motor insurance industry faces a period of radical restructuring as a result of the advent of autonomously driven cars.

Speaking at a London conference Hakan Samuelsson, the president and chief executive of Volvo, said the result of the introduction of autonomously driven cars could result in the number of crashes falling by 80 per cent by 2035.

This could mean a massive decrease in the high cost of motor insurance premiums, according to insurance company Swiss Re and high-tech firm Here.

They have calculated that autonomous drive(AD) technologies could wipe 20 billion dollars off insurance premiums globally by 2020 alone.

At present, motor insurance generates 42 per cent of all non-life insurance premiums, the largest single slice of global premiums.

Mr Samuelsson was speaking at a seminar ‘A Future with Autonomous Driving Cars - Implications for the Insurance Industry'.

Volvo is fully committed to maximising the safety benefits of AD cars.

It announced last week that it will start the UK's most extensive AD trial, entitled Drive Me London, in 2017, with up to 100 AD cars being driven on real roads by real people, part of its global push to develop AD cars with similar programmes to be run in Sweden and China.

At the London event, Peter Shaw, chief executive at Thatcham Research, said: "Vehicle manufacturers are predicting that highly autonomous vehicles, capable of allowing the driver to drop "out of the loop" for certain sections of their journey, will be available from around 2021.

"Without doubt, crash frequency will also dramatically reduce. We've already seen this with the adoption of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) on many new cars.

"Research in the US predicts that by 2035, as a result of autonomous and connected cars, crashes will be reduced by 80 per cent.

"Additionally, if a crash unfortunately can't be avoided, then the impact speed will also drop as a result of the system's performance- reducing the severity of the crash."

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