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Thursday, June 16, 2016

More Disruption Coming-- Autonomous Cars Will Change Auto Insurance Among Other Things...

More Disruption Coming-- Autonomous Cars Will Change Auto Insurance Among Other Things...

Dr. Alan Himmel-West Miramar Car Accident Injury Doctor

Autonomous cars are coming.  Get ready.  It is estimated that by 2025 there could be 600,000 autonomous cars on the road, and by 2035, there could be 21 million cars on the road. (1)

What is an autonomous car?  Well, it's a self driving car.  To paint the picture, this is probably what driving will be like in the future:  We will step into our cars with probably some futuristic doors which open up in  Lamborghini style in order for us to easily slide in with handfuls of carry-ons. Think of getting onto an airport shuttle bus.  We will step in, place our stuff on the side, and simply have a seat.  From there we will likely just speak our destination out loud, so that the navigation (GPS) hears us and figures out the best route.  A voice will come on and say, please buckle your seat belt, and inform us that we will be at our destination in 23 minutes and 16 seconds. speeding anymore since we are not in control of the gas pedal.  And, at this point, the doors will shut, the system will make sure all passengers are safely secured, and we will be on our way.

Since we are no longer in control of our car, we could, if we want to just sit back and read the newspaper (if they still exist), do some computer work, watch a movie, or do anything else we want.
Even Sleep.

The trip will probably be very boring.  I figure it will be like being on a tour bus, with only one big difference; we have seen this city all before, since we live here.  This won't be like being on a tour bus travelling through Rome, unless you live in Rome.  There will be no reason to take your camera with you.

So, let's talk about how the autonomous car will change things, and there are plenty: The first thing that comes to mind, is that automated cars will reduce the amount of human error, since our cars will be controlled by computer software and hardware.  I know what you are thinking... GPS is very inaccurate and most of the time it sends you to the wrong place.  Believe me, this is a system which is in progress, and I would expect there to be gigantic improvements in GPS technology.  Eliminate human error and there are less injuries, and fatalities, because there are less accidents of all kinds. Car insurance companies will have to restructure the policies to account for the possibility of computer error, and those tech companies who created the system would be held liable for accidents.

And, I would expect cars with combustion engines (again, if they still exist) to be more efficient. Keeping you at a constant 45mph in a 45mph zone will save you gas.  It will also save your brakes.

How else would we expect life to change with autonomous cars?   Fewer car accidents mean fewer trips to a body shop.  Fewer car wrecks would mean fewer tow trucks on the road.  Calling a UBER driver (sorry Taxi Companies, it was good while it lasted but your days are numbered), will mean a driverless UBER car comes to you and picks you up.  There are billions of dollars going into making this happen.  Postal, UPS, and small package delivery will probably use these driverless vehicles also.

What if we don't want this?  Sorry, its coming.  Just about every car manufacturer is working on this to make it a reality, along with Apple, Google, Microsoft, just to name the obvious. (2) (3)
Let me put it to you this way:  When Google pays a billion dollars for a traffic app called Waze, do you think it is entirely for watching where the police are?  No.  Its all about the data that that app provides back to Google.  And, don't forget that just about everyone has a smart phone, which uses wifi and data, which is continuously sending information back to Apple and Google plotting your exact coordinates.  The information that these companies are gathering will one day be crucial to making these systems work.

For now, we are just starting to see a sprinkling of this new technology in our cars.  There have been self parking cars out for a few years now.  Also, blind spot monitoring in side view mirrors has been out for a while.  My 2014 Mazda has this feature.  I just saw a commercial on TV (can't remember the car company) showing a car that is available right now, that will completely avoid colliding into something.  They were demonstrating how the car automatically stops if a person walks out in front of a car which was driving straight ahead, and while the driver took his eyes off the road for a few seconds.  Pretty awesome, and that would prevent a rear end collision, too.

What if you are the type of person who likes to keep his car forever or you like the classic cars?  I doubt if these older cars would ever disappear completely, but you would expect them to be less and less common, just like we don't see many Model T's on the road very often.

In summary, we are living in some exciting times in terms of technology.  I am not sure if I am ready for it, because I still enjoy driving, and being in control of my car.  Our grandkids will likely look back and find it amusing that we actually use to drive our own cars.  

Miramar Chiropractor