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How Self-Driving Delivery Cars Might Impact The Auto Insurance Industry

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2017 | Auto Accidents

Technology is making delivery services more feasible and more appealing to consumers, particularly those who live in densely populated urban areas. From drone delivery to autonomous vehicles, companies that deliver both products and services are anxiously watching to see how these technological developments impact the future of their business.

When it comes to self-driving delivery cars, there’s a lot for a business owner and operator to consider. The safety issues surround operating these vehicles become more important due to their technology, but they also are vulnerable in other ways.

Risks Associated with Autonomous Vehicles

  • Software glitches – According to Claims Journal, one of the reasons that people are so interested and excited about autonomous vehicles is the fact that it significantly reduces the impact of distracted and drunken driving. These self-driving vehicles are expected to be a safer alternative to the traditional cars that are operated by humans. However, the cars operate on software programs that are filled with hundreds upon thousands of lines of code. As is found in most computer devices, software programs have a tendency to tire out over time and can be prone to glitches. When a driverless delivery car experiences a software glitch, there is an increased risk of an accident. It remains to be seen, however, whether this risk is greater than the risk of accidents that occur as a result of distracted driving and other human errors.
  • Hacking – Given the computer-based nature of autonomous vehicles, these cars also are vulnerable to hack attacks. Hackers may use the code that controls the cars in order to disable functions, such as brakes or navigation systems. In fact, one hacker could disable multiple cars at once if they were able to access the code quickly and easily enough. This is a safety risk as well as a security risk that must be considered when developing and utilizing autonomous vehicles.

How Will Self-Driving Vehicles Impact Car Accident Claims?

Self-driving vehicles are expected to be a safer alternative to traditional cars, but that doesn’t mean that car accidents will become a problem of the past. Service-oriented businesses that offer delivery services will still have to consider the risk of accidents and the liabilities associated with autonomous vehicles before they invest in this new technology. Car insurance companies are already contemplating the impact and changes that this technology will bring to their industry.

First and foremost, auto adjusters and claims representatives are expecting shifts in how to determine who or what is at fault. Even autonomous delivery cars will likely require a worker in the cab, to bring the item to the door and handle any customer service problems. The delivery person will not be considered at fault in the event that an accident occurs en route, but the company may still be found liable if the equipment is not properly maintained or the software system had a glitch that caused the accident.

In addition, a business that offers delivery services may find that there is an increase in product liability claims as a result of their investment in this up-and-coming technology. Insurance industry experts are predicting a rise in these types of claims as a result of the software programs and computer systems that control the functions of the vehicles.

More businesses and companies are beginning to offer delivery services, and autonomous vehicles are only going to increase the demand for this type of luxury and convenience. Fast food operators and service providers will want to consider the various aspects of investing in and implementing this type of technology, which stands to boost their business into the 21st century and beyond.