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  • Dean Smith

How Will Autonomous Vehicles Affect Our Industry? We May Soon Find Out

Andrew G. Simpson of Insurance Journal is giving us a glimpse into the future. Seems like something out of a science fiction move, but not anymore. Over 30 companies to include automakers BMW, Daimler and Ford, as well as technology moguls such as Apple, Uber and Google, are developing autonomous vehicle technology that may be adopted much earlier than we thought possible.

“Stick Shift: Autonomous Vehicles, Driving Jobs, and the Future of Work” released by the Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS) reports that, “Not everyone agrees driverless trucks are around the corner and many believe regulations and costs will influence how quickly the technologies are out on the road. But research into autonomous vehicles is in high gear…” Here’s a list of who is involved and some milestones reached:

Google and car makers are at the forefront and in some cases, already manufacturing products

Uber is partnering with Volvo and Toyota to make autonomous vehicles

In May 2015, the state of Nevada granted Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) a license to operate its Freightliner Inspiration Truck, the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the U.S.

In October 2016, when Uber Technologies (Uber again!) bought self-driving truck startup Otto, Otto co-founder Lior Ron told Reuters in an interview that Otto-branded trucks and others using Otto technology will begin hauling freight in 2017.

In August 2016, the first driverless taxi began roaming the streets of Singapore in a limited trial.

Early March 2017, a San Francisco office park began using driverless shuttles on public roads to transport workers around its complex.

Experts in the report are mostly worried that unfortunately, this new technology may put 4 million truck, bus, delivery and taxi driving jobs at risk, and some states such as North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa and Indiana, will be harder hit than others.

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, CGPS President and CEO, stated, “This crisis is likely right around the corner. We need a strong safety net that can bolster workers in the event of large-scale, rapid job losses, along with policies that can transition them to new jobs.”

Maybe this IS becoming a reality faster than we thought.

Although the article we are referencing focuses mostly on workers, demographics, and the approximately 4 million driving jobs at risk with this new technology, we can’t help but wonder how this shift will also affect the auto insurance industry. We will be watching this closely.

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