What is the point of driverless cars? Is the goal to free up more time for our cell phones? Do we hope to nap on the way to work or on longer journeys? For most safety experts, the goal of autonomous vehicles is to eliminate the cause of more than 90 percent of all car crashes: human error.
If human error were eliminated from American roads, tens of thousands of lives would be saved every year. Hundreds of thousands of serious injuries would be prevented each year. That is, of course, unless human error is simply replaced with a different kind of negligence. A recent report suggests that the insurance industry is less worried than it was a few short years ago.
Death, taxes and insurance
An analysis conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance expressed a perverse optimism from auto insurance companies. it suggests that car insurance will change as driverless cars gain popularity, but not diminish significantly. In the past, insurers took a bleak view of the future when considering autonomous cars. After all, computers don’t get drunk, tired, angry or distracted. In theory, they should be far better drivers than people, thus greatly diminishing the cost that people would be willing to pay for insurance.
So if insurance companies are not worried about a loss of business, what does that signify? It would seem to indicated that they feel autonomous vehicles will either not be entering the market in significant numbers anytime soon (if ever), or that they will crash and injure people at comparable rates to human drivers. Neither prospect is terribly appealing.