Major auto insurance providers have been involved in discussions with Google over its driverless car project.
The driverless car project at Google has been the topic of some significant discussions that the search engine giant has been holding with some of the country’s top auto insurance companies as they address the implications of using this technology into the vehicles that will be used in the real world.
According to the Google self driving car project’s product manager, Anthony Levandowski, in a keynote address that he gave in Detroit at the Cobo Center for the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, “They see the opportunities for this technology being really positive.” He also added that “From their point of view, this technology is not going to be released until it’s safe.”
Though Levandowski did say that the discussions were with leaders in the auto insurance industry, he declined to provide the names of the specific insurers with whom Google had held its discussions. What he did share, was that the discussions included a dialogue regarding whether driverless vehicle policies would include different rates that are based on when the computer and when the human being will be in control of the driving.
Google has already announced that more than 200,000 miles of “computer-led driving” had already been achieved.
The technology is based on a highly complex software system developed by the company, which is based in Mountain View California. It utilizes various types of sensor, imaging, and modeling technologies to drive a vehicle with very little participation needed from an actual human driver.
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It is only one of a number of different companies – including the major auto manufacturers – that are currently investigating different forms of autonomous car technology, such as advanced cruise control.
Though skeptical engineers have stated that there is more than a decade between now and the first autonomous vehicles that will be available to consumers, Levandowski announced that he feels that it’s time to start thinking about bringing them to market earlier, and that he doesn’t think that much time is needed for the integration of the technology.
He did state that “we’re not quite there yet” and that he felt that there probably wouldn’t ever be a time when the vehicle will be able to do all of the driving without any human participation, he did see a tremendous auto insurance advantage, as it could remove a “huge chunk” of the over 30 thousand annual deaths from car accidents in the United States.