How Advancing Car Tech Can Prevent Drunk Driving

The drive to create new and safer ways to travel is still going strong – especially in the automotive industry. Each year new advances come out, from better seatbelts to collision prevention features and cameras.

Most recently, the government has been encouraging automakers to develop a new line of safe cars: cars that will automatically detect whether the driver is drunk and prevent them from getting on the road.

Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act was introduced in April of 2021 as part of a larger bill. This infrastructure bill encompasses many concerns and has a one trillion dollar budget alongside the proposed changes.

One of those proposed changes is anti-drunk driving technology – in all cars. The bill has yet to be finalized, so nothing is yet set in stone. But automakers would be wise to start paying attention – and planning.

The bill has many driving-related concerns, most of them reliant on new technology. For example, the creation of an automated alert system for children left behind in the car.

Anti-Drunk Driving Provisions

While the wording is slightly ambiguous, the implication within this bill feels reasonably evident. Automakers will have a few years to design and begin implementing preventive technology, assuming the bill passes.

The idea is very similar to cars available to drivers with a history of impaired driving. The technology would automatically look for standard physiological features of an intoxicated driver – and prevent the vehicle from moving should the results be concerning.

One feature may be a more advanced version of an automotive breath-testing unit. This would potentially mean that each car would have to be equipped with a unit or a different means of testing for impairment – such as cameras.

The fight to prevent drunk driving has been a long one, and at times it feels like the impact of these lessons and laws has not been enough. Given the current car crash statistics, it is hardly surprising that lawmakers are trying to take matters into their own hands.

One of the primary problems with enforcing this new level of technology would be the additional cost – which would likely be passed down to the consumers. 

 

Are Smarter Cars Making Drivers Worse?

Who doesn’t love the idea of a smart car? They’re comfortable, convenient, and make our lives easier. Yet there’s a growing concern that the latest generation of cars may just be training people to be worse drivers – and that’s dangerous.

Who can forget the headlines from 2020, when a Tesla user crashed their car because they were too busy watching a movie. While this may be a stand-out example, it does raise a very valid concern. 

The Intention Behind Smart Cars

Smart cars are designed for comfort, yes, but they are also designed for safety. That’s their primary goal. The whole push for self-driving vehicles has less to do with lazy drivers and more to do with eliminating human error.

According to studies, more than ninety percent of car crashes were caused by drivers. In other words, they were caused by human error. Naturally, this explains why car and insurance companies alike would be interested in developing safer tech.

How This Concept Can Backfire

So, given the altruistic intent behind smart cars, how is it possible that the idea is backfiring? It’s simple – people are getting distracted. We are not yet at a point where self-driving cars are easily accessible (or necessarily legal), and that means the current tech out there can create just as much of a distraction as anything.

People get distracted by all of the devices in their cars. They play with the radio, their phone, and now the new shiny tech that comes along for the ride. According to a study run by State Farm, these distractions are making us worse drivers.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that certain drivers rely too much on safety technology. Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist tools are being abused so that people can multitask within the car. Until we hit a point where self-driving cars are a given – this is extremely dangerous. The result is a road full of dangerously distracted drivers. Even if these drivers are in the minority, plenty of drivers are still too distracted by their phones

The Solution

Like many problems in the automotive industry, the solution comes down to regulation. More and more states are outlawing cell phones in cars – and that is just the first step in the process. Regulating these distractions is unfortunately essential, but that’s not the only step.

The other part of this process is education. Drivers need to be made more aware of the risk they take when doing this – and what it can cost. The automotive industry can get involved in this process by developing technology that discourages phone use and the like, much like the push towards seatbelts. 

Apps Making Driving Safer

Every day new technology is made for the express purpose of making people safer. This is especially true in the car industry, where safety is paramount – and the definition is constantly shifting.

Most recently, a new trend has been popping up in the auto industry. There are now dozens of apps out there to help people drive more safely. These apps are great for teenagers and adults alike and are available on multiple platforms. 

SafeDrive

SafeDrive is the perfect app for anyone actively trying to limit their phone usage while driving. SafeDrive is an app that believes phones can be a dangerous distraction in the car and works to reward drivers for keeping their phones away when behind the wheel.

LifeSaver

While LifeSaver is targeted more towards teen drivers (or, more accurately, the parents of teen drivers), this is an app for anyone. LifeSaver combines GPS monitoring with a rewards system similar to that of SafeDrive. Parents can track their teens and help reward them for keeping their phones safely tucked away. 

DriveMode

DriveMode is very similar to the apps mentioned above in that it discourages distracted driving by reducing phone use. DriveMode silences call, alerts, and texts while driving. Additionally, it can send out auto-replies in the meantime, so there is no need to worry about a lack of response on the driver’s part.

Inrix

Inrix doubles as a safety and map app. It learns from users’ driving habits, creating individualized routes that help avoid traffic. The goal is to keep drivers focused on the road and not figure out how to get from A to B.

Mojo

Mojo is another monitoring app, but with a twist. Mojo monitors user driving statistics and rates them according to how safe their driving is. The app allows users to accumulate points, which eventually begin to earn gift cards as physical rewards.

iOnRoad

iOnRoad is an innovative new app that takes full advantage of today’s technology. It uses augmented reality to map out the other cars on the road and will send automatic alerts when your vehicle gets too close to another.

EverDrive

Are you feeling a bit more competitive about safe driving? EverDrive is the perfect app for that. EverDrive rates users on their safe driving by monitoring acceleration, braking, and speed. From there, it provides total scores, which can be shared with the neighborhood.

The Learning Curve for New Car Tech

Who doesn’t love to buy a car with all of the newest gadgets and tech? Unfortunately, doing so does come with a bit of a learning curve, especially for those that aren’t quite so technologically savvy.

Here’s the good news: cars, on the whole, are designed to be user-friendly. This means that they are designed under the assumption that most people will thoroughly learn to operate their car, all gadgets included. Though for some, this may take longer than others.

Increase In Tech Means Increased Learning Curve

The fancier a car’s tech gets, the longer it will take the average customer to understand it. Still, many consider this a small price to pay for increase comfort, convenience, and safety. Again, the price is sometimes higher for others.

Voice commands can be tricky, especially for anybody with an accent – or even a voice pitch outside of the program’s parameters. This makes people feel like they aren’t understood or represented and can even discourage them from using the tech again.

Likewise, pairing phones and other devices to cars can sometimes be easier said than done. This will vary dramatically based on the vehicle and even the phone model, making it impossible to create a comprehensive guide for all.

Creating Something Familiar

Naturally, car companies don’t want to create cars that people don’t like or want to use. Thus, it’s their job to make this newly emerging technology as approachable as possible. For some, that means emulating standard technology.

New dashboards and panels in cars are beginning to look more and more like phones. This allows for the maximization of information transfer while also providing the users with something they already know how to operate: their phone.

Tips to Adapt

When buying a new car full of tech and gadgets, there are certain tricks users can employ to work through that learning curve at a faster rate. First, it’s essential to keep an open mind. Don’t jump into the car expecting to have a bad experience and hate the tech – that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Next, start small. Try pairing your phone to the car. Once done, you’ll now be able to safely talk on the phone and choose your music – which may just help your mood as well! 

It’s also essential to take your time adjusting to new technology, so don’t pressure yourself. Or the car, for that matter. And finally, don’t be afraid to access the owner’s manual if you’re stuck. If you find yourself having trouble after that, the dealership or even the internet can be a beneficial resource.

Racing to the Future: Automotive Trends for 2030

It’s time for the automotive industry to start looking ahead. With all of the advancements in technology cropping up every day, now is the time to begin imagining what trends await the market for 2030.

The automotive industry has always had a talent for keeping up with technology. It has seamlessly integrated luxury items such as cameras, BlueTooth speakers, and lidar technology for comfort and safety.

Part of staying current with the trends involves the ability to look ahead. One has to imagine what the trend will be to have a design ready for that demand. As such, there are already dozens of predictions out there for what 2030 has in store.

It is entirely likely that by the year 2030, there will be a different power source available for automobiles. The demand for alternatives is already there. Just look at the prevalence of hybrid and electric vehicles. That demand is likely to rise over the next decade, resulting in a new breed of cars.

Likewise, the drive to create autonomous vehicles is still going strong. Yes, this industry has hit a few roadblocks over the last couple of years, but consumer interest is still there. While not every car will be autonomous by 2030, some experts believe that as many as 15% might be.

It is expected that the average customer will have changed by 2030 as well. Not everyone will want or need to own a car then. Cars will be seen as a mobility function, used primarily for commuting, trips, and errands. In turn, it is believed that sharing and rental cars will become more common in the following decades.

To keep up and partially counter this demand, companies will have to grow and adapt. They can either go with the flow by investing in rental opportunities. Or they can begin creating specialized cars to entice the remaining buyers’ market. 

Regarding the potential clients out there, experts believe that by the year 2030, every person will have 15 connected devices. Think TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, appliances, digital assistants, and security devices. 

This trend towards new connected devices will likely be reflected in the auto industry as well. Like current devices, they will be expected to eventually integrate with the cars considered more desirable.

Does New Tech Effect Insurance Rates?

New car technologies have features in common with other IoT devices of today. The more automated the vehicle, the more reliant the system is on algorithms and AI. When shopping for auto insurance, there are questions that people of today need to be prepared to ask. The more knowledge you have, the better because the old method of the rate calculation for insurance no longer applies to these new variables. 

When shopping for a new car, it’s essential to weigh the latest model’s pros and cons against how much your insurance will increase. This could be something as small as a newer design of bumper or a back-up camera. Examine the levels of insurance being offered, including the premium vs. basic levels. For some people, it’s a waste of money to purchase the higher-end policies. For others, the extra cost is worth it if repairs or maintenance are needed. Opt-in discounts are also carefully worded and must be read carefully, such as with advanced anti-theft services only being considered when merged with a comprehensive premium coverage plan. 

The Repair Cycle 

It is a cyclical process. Over the past several years, car insurance rates have increased as a result of the latest technology. In the past, you could bring a car to an auto body shop or car dealer for a simple issue, such as a cracked bumper. Nowadays, there are built-in sensors and very complex electronic components. A car with a built-in navigation center or a backup camera will require more skilled labor than the past’s standard car repair. Not only will specialized parts need to be ordered, but the labor will also increase as jobs will take longer to complete. The mechanics themselves will be trained and more technical, which will also raise their hourly rates. 

Safety Features

Despite all the exciting new safety features being touted in today’s autonomous cars, there is still much testing left to be done. In addition, humans still have the ability to override a driving system, giving them just as much control as a regular driver. Insurance companies must consider the driver as well as the vehicle, no matter how complex. The learning curve might also hinder, as humans adjust to new distractions of lights and buttons that they are not familiar with. This could slow a person’s reaction time in a crisis. 

 The Driver

Regardless of the technology you have in your car, insurance rates will also depend on you, the driver. Moving violations and accidents on your driving record will increase your rate regardless of the type of car you drive. Demographics also play into how much insurance you will pay. Rural communities have fewer vehicles on the road, which lessens the probability of accidents occurring. This substantially lowers insurance rates.

 

Why Insurance Companies Need to Embrace Emerging Technology

It would be an understatement to say that machine learning and artificial intelligence have made some type of impact on nearly every sector and industry around the globe. In addition to the energy, healthcare, real estate, and consumer goods and services markets, the influx of emerging technologies is disrupting the financial and insurance worlds as well. 

It is crucial for industries to embrace the future of a reduced human workforce and to learn how to work in collaboration with machines, not against them. The advent of machine learning and its ability to process big data will give partnered insurance companies an enormous boost over the competition that refuses to do so. The main advantage comes from a machine’s ability to read and identify massive quantities of data that a human would never be able to. In addition, the device can see patterns in the data, sort it, and predict behaviors. This means making a fair estimate of an incident’s causes, leading to a timely and unbiased assessment of damages, resulting in speedy and accurate claims processing. From a customer service perspective, this is a dream come true. 

Another way that an insurance company would benefit from emerging technology is by having a chat-bot on their website. This is a feature that is becoming increasingly more popular because of its ability to respond 24/7 to the majority of general questions for customers. In addition to making customers happy, the call centers’ employees will also be relieved of stress due to fewer anxious phone calls and an overall decrease in caller volume.

Many industries are also embracing the concept of digital portals. These are web-based platforms that combine data from multiple sources into one easily manageable location. Unlike websites designed to maximize traffic, web portals are meant to filter out the majority of visitors and only share relevant data to those with login credentials. Customers and employees can access the interface and use it to review customer data, a claim’s history, and status updates.

In general, the future of machine learning and automation will benefit the world of insurance in many ways, either by saving time, money, or aggravation. Underwriting will be handled faster and more efficiently. Claims will be filed based on a vast array of knowledge sorted by a clients’ history and predictive analysis. 

 

How Insurance Companies Are Incorporating Machine Learning

Big data is named that for a very good reason. It refers to quantities of information that are so large or complex that it’s impossible to process using traditional methods. We as a species have collected more data within the past two years than mankind has in its entire history, yet we are unable to process it sufficiently. The variety of industries that are offering up data are constantly growing, including electrical engineering, telecommunications, vehicular technology, social media, voice analytics, connected sensors and wearable devices.

One of the great things about machine learning is its ability to handle big data like this. Machine learning takes a large amount of information and detects meaningful patterns. From there, it can make predictions at a rate of speed and accuracy that far surpasses humans. Machine learning and its ability to adapt is being used in almost every industry nowadays and the world of insurance is no exception.

Auto insurance is all about data when it comes to claims and premiums. When a driver seeks to purchase auto insurance, there are a number of factors that are considered, and the higher a person’s risk factor, the more it translates into real-world decisions like the costs of premiums.

Most insurance companies are only able to process 10 to 15 percent of the data they receive. This data is stagnant and stored in databases. This structured data is not used to its full potential, and it doesn’t display any predictive modeling behavior. Machine learning provides the boost they need to face their competition and enhance customer satisfaction. AI is also being explored in other departments as well, such as underwriting, fraud detection, and loss prevention.

Ultimately, direct machine-to-human interaction will begin from the moment the first interaction occurs between the customer and the insurance company. On the front-end, 24/7 chatbots have made it easier for potential customers to have answers at the ready, as well as existing customers filing claims. All while freeing up in-house employees to focus on other tasks. On the back-end, clients receive personalised products that are created by machine learning algorithms that have tailor-made packages based on users’ profiles.

The ultimate goal is to combine the Internet of Things (IoT) to share omnipresent data in an open source platform. This would apply to everything from smart homes to smart cars to the healthcare industry. 20 percent of companies have departments solely dedicated to guide and monitor the progress of machine learning.  

The Safety of Self-Driving Cars

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns about the migration over to self-driving cars is the safety factor. Many questions are being raised about the issue of ethics. While a computer can make lightning-fast decisions based on data and logic, the recurring fear is that, as a machine, it cannot possibly make the same type of life-affecting moral decision that a human can. For this reason, many studies are being done to determine whether it really is safer to have an AI system behind the wheel.

Research published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT NHTSA) found that the majority of all car crashes between 2005 and 2007 were the result of driver error, as opposed to a malfunction. Driver distraction and/or impairment caused 94% of the crashes. In order to be deemed safe, therefore, an automated system would just have to have better numbers than humans.

Testing has been a bit of a contentious issue since real-world scenarios are hard to employ without putting people in danger. There are test runs being done by companies such as Google, who are showing huge strides with their focus being on driver assistance, rather than car manufacturing. What began as a self-driving car project, their offshoot company, Waymo, has partnered with several major car developers to enhance their own cars for automation. 

If data analysts focus on the issue of driver error due to impairment and/or distraction, there will undoubtedly be fewer instances of alcohol- or drug-impaired driving when the human is removed from the equation. Within the next few years, safety testing will advance to real-world situations in order to help with the machine learning process. Tesla’s latest model has received high marks for safety tests. In order to earn its five-start rating, the Model 3 not only had to show good overall performance in crash protection but also display superior and robust crash avoidance technology.

That being said, all computing systems are vulnerable to hacks, and cyber protection will have to be at unprecedented levels in order to prevent malicious external cyberattacks from occurring. 

Insurance Technology Trends

There are several trends that are making a huge impact on the auto insurance industry. Some of these include maximizing efficiency, attracting fresh talent to the industry, and making people’s data more secure. 

AI

Artificial Intelligence has the ability to completely transform the insurance industry in areas from productivity and customer service, to security. New functions that focus on fraud protection help not only the insurance providers but also the customers who follow the rules. Robo-advisors are on the horizon which will save both clients and underwriters unnecessary wait times. The development of 24/7 chatbots has already been well-received for common user questions.  While humans are still working in tandem with machines, it is no secret that companies need to embrace this technology in order to survive in their industry. One example of AI already at work is CARPE DATA, which gathers real-time data and uses it for predictive scoring for every stage of an insurance lifecycle, including claims. Shift Technology is a company that focuses on fraud detection specifically for the insurance industry. 

Blockchain

Blockchain maintains the same advantage as the World Wide Web, in that there is no main point of control. Blockchain technology acts like a virtual ledger that records all transactions in a secure, unchangeable way. It takes the place of having a third verification party for each transaction, thereby saving the insurance company money which in turn, gets passed down to customers. Using this technology, insurers can quickly verify credentials, historical data, and contracts. It is also nearly impossible to duplicate, because of it’s multi-level verification transparency. It is a perfect fit for apps like Teambrella, who apply the democratic notion of insurance and filing claims. They support the concept of teamwork being part of every decision. Users cover each other and vote on payouts and premiums, as opposed to being presented with a limited number of options to choose from. Blockchain technology is used to securely handle all payments put all minds at ease. Lemonade makes full use of AI and blockchain technology to call themselves the home, rental, and pet health insurance provider for the 21st Century. The philanthropic arm of the firm also donates a portion of profits to various causes.