Manufacturers have a huge opportunity with autonomous cars

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Autonomous vehicles are set to be part of our transport future, which in theory should be good news for insurers as the human element of road accidents is gradually eradicated.

But can OEMs go further by embracing incorporated technologies into modern cars, so that location, speed and g-force during braking, plus a snapshot of any accident can be uploaded to an insurer’s website within seconds, thus settling the question of blame very quickly?

Yes, argues Adam Gooch, Commercial Director at Insure Telematics Solutions.

The motoring industry has always embraced innovation, from the first mass-produced vehicles rolling off the production line, to the autonomous, intelligent cars of today. As technology has developed and advanced, manufacturers have sought to cater to the growing consumer demand for in-car features, whilst gaining access to the significant financial and safety benefits such hardware can bring.

The EU commission is already pushing for the mandatory introduction of eleven new safety features as a standard in all cars by 2030. Amongst the proposed features are several technologies already in widespread use, including autonomous emergency braking, reverse assist cameras and the mandatory inclusion of event data recorders in cars and vans. Leading global manufacturers are beginning to recognise the vast benefits that the inclusion of inbuilt safety devices can bring, with tech giant Tesla incorporating an event data recorder into every vehicle since March of this year.

Telematics technology has gained rapid traction within the automotive industry over the last decade, as insurers, drivers, and manufacturers have begun to fully realise the power of big data. By adopting telematics technology early, Tesla has gained a real head start on its competition in terms of producing a complete and detailed map of exactly how its customers use their product.

One of the biggest arguments for standardised tech features, however, continues to be the role it can play in making drivers safer. All sectors of the automotive industry have a vested interest in reducing the amount of fatalities and serious accidents on our roads, from insurers looking to reduce compensation payouts, to the importance placed by consumers on vehicle safety track records. This last point is particularly pertinent from a manufacturer’s perspective, as a safety scare, whether genuine or perceived, can have a lasting impact on public perceptions of their brand.

Whilst human error continues to be a significant factor in many collisions, tech companies are making clear advances in the effort to minimise the element of unpredictability currently involved in driving. At Insure Telematics Solutions, we’ve developed an advanced crash algorithm in partnership with Microsoft Azure, using collision data from black box devices to build an extremely detailed picture of an incident. 

With a combination of AI and Machine Learning, the algorithm can determine genuine incidents from door slams and potholes, and create a data set revealing the actions that led to the collision occurring. Each recorded incident strengthens our algorithm’s ability to predict future accidents, and our risk scoring technology works alongside this to detect unusual driving behaviour and identify high risk drivers.

SAFETY TECH ALSO OFFERS A COMMERCIAL ASPECT

Technology can open up new and powerful streams of revenue for car manufacturers, with plentiful opportunities for direct consumer interaction, targeted advertising, and marketing collaborations. Consumers these days are used to targeted marketing, with personalised ads playing before TV programmes, suggested locations popping up on social media, and recommended purchases on online shopping platforms.

In a time sensitive society, we value functions that serve to streamline our days and make things easier for us, and there exists huge scope for OEMs to use technology to aid this. For example, using data from a black box, manufacturers could identify locations frequented by drivers, and offer targeted deals and experiences in partnership with other businesses. Onboard telematics could identify when a car is due an MOT, notify the driver, and direct them to a nearby partner garage.

Manufacturers could also begin to offer customers personalised purchase recommendations, based on black box information such as location, weather, and fuel consumption. Dealerships would then be able to provide tailored services to potential customers, whilst speeding up the purchase process for the buyer. The kind of data, gathered by a black box would previously have taken years to collect, and the opportunity to have daily interactions with customers is invaluable to any business.

By using this date to create bespoke services, OEMs can demonstrate a real understanding of their customers, building a lasting relationship that extends far beyond a one off transaction. Personalised services also provide brilliant opportunities to generate consumer engagement and targeted brand PR; critical in our highly competitive market.

Over the next few years we can expect to see an increasing amount of tech incorporated as part of the standard vehicle build. As the EU proposal continues to gain momentum, and consumers demonstrate an ever-growing appetite for new technologies, many manufacturers are beginning to take note of the benefits of incorporated technologies. From increasing safety and reducing fatalities and accidents, to the huge financial incentives they can offer, incorporated technologies like black boxes are here to stay.

posted on 11 September 2018 by Insurance Edge