The take-up of Google’s driverless car, once it is introduced in the South African market, could see consumers enjoying lower insurance premiums. Warwick Scott-Rodger, marketing manager at MUA Insurance Acceptances says if the risks posed by driverless vehicles do prove to be less than those posed by traditional vehicles, insurance premium should reduce.
Scott-Rodger explained that risks, such as driving under the influence, would be taken out of the equation and this would ultimately result in premium reductions. “In theory, this would make the industry even more competitive, forcing insurance companies to include additional value added services to make their respective offerings more attractive.”
It’s still unclear how much premiums are likely to reduce by. “In theory the insurance premiums should come down but I can’t speculate how much it will come down by as it’s still all a concept at the moment. The insurance reduction will depend on the length of time it takes for people to take up the car as well as the take up of car manufacturers,” added Scott-Rodger.
Since 2010 Google has tested several vehicles using the driverless system and the vehicles have clocked up 200 000 kilometres in the US. The project is currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View.