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.

The Best New Tech Safety Features in Cars

There has been a steady influx of tech features being rolled out by car manufactures, and 2021 is going to be no different. Any new automobile technology’s primary goal, regardless of its purpose for comfort, safety, or entertainment, is to avoid driver distraction. Here are some of the highest-rated safety tech features in cars for 2021.

 

Teen drivers are still the riskiest group on the roads and also the biggest worry for parents. With Chevy’s Teen Driver, parents can stay connected via a system that alerts when the car is driven over a speed limit, or the forward collision alert is triggered. They are also provided with a safety report card. Buckle to Drive is a feature of GM’s Teen Driver car system and displays notifications about safety. It also provides parents with a driver’s report card. 

 

Digital car keys have now become a valuable tool in automotive safety. The ability to start a car remotely is not only luxurious and convenient, but it reduces the amount of time a person has to wait to get inside and lock the doors. The proactive gauges that monitor fuel levels and tire pressure cut down drastically on the possibility of becoming trapped in a dangerous situation or breaking down. The future will see smartphones acting as remote keys. 

 

One of the most annoying and dangerous car elements is the blind spot caused by side pillars. New technology includes blind-spot sensors and monitors. Mounted on either the side or rear of the car, they can detect when vehicles are approaching and send either visual or audio alerts. Brands like Kia and Hyundai provide this feature within the gauge cluster, which keeps the driver focused on the road. 

 

Humans are slowly warming up to the concept of having driver-assisted technology. Some co-pilot packages offer hands-free driving, automated parking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, reverse brake assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). Faster than a human’s ability to respond, AEB will also brake harder if danger seems imminent. This revolutionary safety feature The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes AEB, dynamic brake support (DBS), and crash imminent braking (CIB) will be the most significant developments in the fight against traffic fatalities. 

Will Car Safety Tech Lower Insurance Rates?

With the rise of more technologically advanced cars comes the expectation of safety. Many new features in vehicles, such as collision avoidance and parking assistance, are designed to help make the driving experience a safer one.

With the increase in safety comes the assumption that there will be a decrease in car insurance costs. However, it is never safe to make any assumptions in the world of insurance, and thus it is essential to research the matter.

Car Safety Tech

Every single year new advancements are made in the world of technology. Much of the new technology developed for automobiles has been to make travel safer for all. There’s no doubt that self-driving cars will come around, eventually. In the meantime, here are plenty of innovations to bridge the gap.

Collision warning systems are a common piece of car safety tech. Other features can include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, cabin camera, and adaptive headlights. 

Tech Effectiveness

The latest Consumer Reports indicate strongly that the latest advancements in car safety technology do work as intended. They prevent collisions or reduce the severity of them when unavoidable.

Naturally, this means that lives can be saved and injuries avoided. However, there is a negative worth discussing at this point. Much of the technology available today is hidden behind increased expenses. A car with additional features is not as affordable as a more basic model, so it will not apply to everyone.

Technology vs. Human Error

While it is true that technology has been working hard to make driving a safer experience for all, there are some mitigating factors to consider. According to recent research, human driving has been getting worse, even while the technology gets better.

Bobbie Seppelt, from MIT, has been studying part of this phenomenon since 2015. The study has focused on driver attention and has found that distracted and multitasking drivers have become more common.

Furthermore, the study found that when car safety tech is at play, there are two types of users. First, there are the people who trust the tech, sometimes even going so far as to experiment with it or even rely on it too heavily. Conversely, some may outright stop using the technology.

Car Insurance And Technology Costs

While these advancements in car safety tech meet their intended goals – to save lives – they do so at an increased cost. This, in turn, makes it more expensive for insurance companies to replace.

It doesn’t take much to realize where this train of thought is leading. With the new technology costing more for insurers to replace, there is little incentive to decrease insurance plans. 

For example, The Zebra pointed out that a regular bumper would cost between $300 and $700 to replace, with a bumper with sensors would cost more than $1,000 to replace. When looking into how much is saved, it turns out that the average car safety tech can only save around 1% on car insurance. Perhaps this is something that will change in the future, as care safety tech and insurance companies learn to work together.

 

AI is Making the Auto Insurance Industry Safer and More Personalized

Digital consumerism is a trend that has been growing in recent years. With the advancements in AI and machine learning, companies in every industry can now get a more detailed picture of their customers. In retail, this means a 360° profile documenting more than just a purchase history. The one area that has trailed behind is the world of auto insurance, dragged down for decades by stagnant national brands and legacy product lines. That is all changing with the advancement of technology. Customers are demanding a personalized experience, and the auto industry is prepared to deliver.

Many things go through a person’s mind when they are in a vehicle accident. The guidebooks say to go through a checklist that includes checking yourself for injuries, checking passengers, getting everyone to a safe place, calling for help, waiting until help arrives, exchanging information with other parties, and documenting the incident. Most people, however, are not in the right frame of mind to rationally step through this list without getting emotional, which is to be expected. The concept of a clear-headed machine being able to handle all the details seems too good to be true, yet technology is at that point already.

Customers’ most significant complaint with their auto insurance providers is that claims are not processed quickly or correctly. The rates are then increased, either due to an incident or on the whole. Insurance providers have long sought ways of saving money so the savings can be passed down to customers. The issue arises when a claim comes in. Providers don’t usually hear anything until the claim. By then, claim costs have gotten out of control because expenses have already been paid. Customers could assist the providers by embracing sensor technology but choose to avoid it due to privacy concerns regarding private data and driver behavior. 

Accident Detection and Response (ADR) is the latest piece of technology that will not only save costs but will also save lives. Insurance providers can be involved in real-time at the moment of an accident through virtual sensors. Crash data is instantly read, and first-responders are contacted, if necessary. Without sharing personal data, ADR can share granular, real-time bodily injury reports with EMTs in order to get the required life-saving care. All crash data is instantly uploaded to the cloud and analyzed, generating damage and injury reports without false positives or false negatives. 

 

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.