Driverless Cars: When the hands come off the wheel

We look to a safer ‘driverless’ future but in reality technology & government action has been making driving safer for many years. Up until 2000 technology was designed not so much to prevent crashes occurring but to reduce fatalities in the event of a crash (e.g. seat belts, air-bags). Since 2000 technology has shifted to prevent crashes occurring and, in consequence, we see injury crashes and fatalities fall in tandem. As a result motor premiums have already stalled in the developed world.

While Google & Tesla focus on fully autonomous solutions, established car makers have opted for a gradualist approach, progressively introducing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) first to the luxury end of the market, then more widely. Research suggests that these technologies prevent crashes. Depending on price, there is public appetite for them. Historically it takes 15 years for new technology to penetrate 95% of new car sales, a further 15 years to fully penetrate the fleet. However it could be quicker this time around given the sea change in customer experience.

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