Excited about the arrival of autonomous vehicles? Don’t forget about the impact they’ll have on our current infrastructure.
It’s predicted that 10 million autonomous cars will be on the road by 2020. Unlike current vehicles, they’ll arrive with the intention of being more than just a form of transportation. Focused on the overall user experience, they’ll include advanced interior technology, wireless capabilities, and more. But the effects of their arrival won’t only be felt on the interior.
For more than 30 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers has rated America’s roads a D+ or worse. Building roads isn’t cheap: over the last 15 years costs have doubled, and it now takes a cool $2 million per lane, per mile to build a road. Autonomous driving could help mitigate those costs by reducing the need for roads as we currently know them. With 10 million autonomous vehicles in just two years, will we really need more traditional, two-lane highways?
As autonomous driving is rolled out, infrastructure updates will be an essential part of this transformative time. Colorado, for one, is already testing how to use technology within a roadway that can alert authorities of issues and prevent traffic jams by reconfiguring lanes. Rather than pouring concrete, they’re using pre-cast pavement slabs lined with technology that can sync with autonomous cars to measure things like vehicle vibrations to predict a car’s next move. These types of advancements are cost-efficient and forward-thinking.
As these changes affect the auto industry and public infrastructure, insurance companies will need to adjust as well. When an autonomous car crashes, who’s to blame? The ‘driver’? The manufacturer? The dealer? To prepare, the insurance industry should start having these conversations now—before they get left by the side of the road.
For more on the impact of autonomous vehicles and the future of driving, check out our blog on four tech milestones that changed the insurance industry.
Fortegra® is the brand name for the insurance, specialty underwriting and warranty solution operations of Fortegra Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries.