Who’s Prepared For Autonomy?


“I’m stayin’ right here till you come out with your hands up, mister. You hear me . . .?”

“I’m stayin’ right here till you come out with your hands up, mister. You hear me . . .?”

How far will insurance consolidation go?

How far will insurance consolidation go?


Insurance industry execs know change is coming, but they think they’ve got well over a decade to deal with it, says this survey. But by then, the number of cars on the road will have shriveled. The number of personal insurance policies will likewise shrivel, by some 60 percent. And because accidents will become scarcer, insurance premiums will be forced downward. Big companies will survive on volume, by gobbling up lots of new business, while smaller ones will croak. This means we’ll see even more of the Geico lizard and that Progressive lizard. Perhaps we’ll see a consolidation. Scroll down.

Tort law will suffer more twists than tortellini. You think driverless car liability boils down to a simple choice of A or B, as in the automaker or the driver? No, it’s a lot more nuanced than that. Even the semantics of autonomy form a crab nebula without the convenient crab shape. On top of the semantic problems, if you throw in privacy/tracking concerns, then you’ve got beef stew on top of the scrambled eggs. Toss in a haphazard infrastructure, with faded stripes, snow-covered signs and do-it-yourself construction zones, and then you’ve got a tossed salad atop the beef stew on a bed of scrambled eggs. And then, when you think you’ve got it sorted out, along comes a deer.

Transportation regulators aren’t totally comatose, but will inevitably lag the technology. This is the case with other leading-edge tech too. Take tele-healthcare, for example. O the agita. Can doctors bill health insurers for services rendered via webcam? Can a patient talk to an out-of-state doctor? Sometimes the first-mover advantage is actually a burden. Telsa has to build out its own proprietary infrastructure AND fight politicians in some US states AND lobby the likes of the FTC about its retail model AND convince the world’s auto regulators that summoning a car across the country is a cool idea whose time will come circa 2018, not 2028.

Cities and towns will see revenue stream change entirely. Parking tickets, speeding tickets, etc. account for a huge chunk of local highway maintenance budgets. Kiss that money goodbye. As auto sales shrink, so will the sales tax collected on those rather expensive items. You didn’t click the link? Here’s the money shot: “Government stands to lose the most because public bureaucracies don’t adapt well to wholesale disruption, at least compared to the private sector.”

Playing all of this by ear sounds easy enough, but that’s not going to work, because by the time these slow-moving entities agree on a plan to squash the bug in the room, it will have molted into a bigger bug. Nobody can even agree where the bug will come from. This piece says Toyota is outpacing Silicon Valley, based on Toyota’s copious patents. So maybe Tesla won’t be blamed for “summoning” this demon.

*Editor’s note: This post, as well as countless others surrounding Tesla Motors, appears on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

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19 Comments on "Who’s Prepared For Autonomy?"

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To the last point, Unless the auto industry as a whole says you cant set the car to go over the speed limit people will get pulled over. Now the days of “5 and under and you’re safe” might be over because if they gun you going 62 in a 60 they will pull you over to supplement the other lost income.

Besides that point, unless EVERY car and truck are driverless people will still do stupid things and car cameras still cant see under snow/faded lines… its going to take decades for all the roads in the USA/world to get updated whatever to not require lines visible.

I really feel that a lot of city governments set up some traffic signs and parking set ups so they can make income. In that from a traffic stand point they don’t make any sense and there is no other reason why they would be there.

Mobileye’s technology is already well on the way to solving this problem. They are able to accurately place the position of the car within centimeters based on landmarks. There are already YouTube videos of cars being able to handle roads with no lane markings. The technology will be available in hundreds of different models of cars by 2018.

including a link to the fascinating video of the technology.

There will always be a need for liability policies; computers will crash, hackers will hack, terrorists will terrorize, infrastructure will atrophy, humans will resist change etc…

Toyota outpacing others in technology? Maybe Toyota of the past, but in 2016?

Somebody wake me, I must be dreaming!

“This means we’ll see even more of the Geico lizard and that Progressive lizard.”


But what about Jake…. from State Farm?

He’s still wearing khakis.

Well he sounds hideous.


I really think in the future there is going to be a case where someone hacks into the self driving cars and causes thousands of them to go crashing off the road in the future in one incident. The reason why I say this is that even now we are having trouble keeping someone hacking into the Pentagon or Kmart’s system. But in this case if someone gets a hold of hacking into the self driving cars they will have fun triggering some massive car piles up for the sport of it.

“But by then… well over a decade [from now]… the number of cars on the road will have shriveled. The number of personal insurance policies will likewise shrivel, by some 60 percent.”

Wait, what? The premise of this article is that the number of personal vehicles is going to shrivel by 60 percent?

Well, it would have been nice if they had explained their thinking, because this looks like a Green Party fantasy to me.

Will autonomous vehicles reduce the need for people to own their own cars? Isn’t that as ridiculous as arguing that the existence of taxi services will do the same?

Nobody who depends on a car to commute to work and back is going to give it up just because cars become autonomous. There may be a slight reduction in the per-capita ownership of cars once fully autonomous cars become commonplace, but it’s not going to be even in the ballpark of a 60% reduction.

Self driving cars will very likely mean fewer cars on the road. Economically it makes all the sense in the world to simply subscribe to a car service. Whenever you need transport from a to b you simply order it via phone. A cars suitable to take you to b shows up in minutes and of you go. If your alone and the distance short with no luggage a small car likely shows up. If I want to move my apartment cross the country a truck shows up.

I personally don’t like sharing my car with strangers. And I for one I’m not going to give up my personal car with out a fight unless I move somewhere were it is fun and easy not to own a car. But I don’t think self driving cars are going to cause the bulk of people to give up their personal cars.

True, but imagine you can drive to work before your wife/dauther needs a car. The car drives automonous back to your house after you drove to work. Someone at your house drives all day until the evening. Then your car drives to your workplace, picks you up and you can decide if you want to drive home manually or automatic after your hard day at work.

I don’t think car services between everyone will increase that much, but nearly every second car within families can be erased.

Thanks, that’s food for thought. I think you suggest a much more plausible scenario than anything else I’ve seen, for autonomous cars reducing the per-capita rate of car ownership.

Another good thing is EVs can recharge themselve easily using wireless charging during work, charging a autonomous EV is a problem solved.

And parking will be never again a issue. Worst case is car finds no parking space and drives in a curve around the block until you come back. If the car is 30 mph driving for 3 hours it only wasted 12-16kWh of the 60kWh battery, also a non issue for city driving. And cheap too, with (expensive) german electricity rates that would be a maximum of 4.80€ for 3 hour “parking”.

That picture from the movie “The Car” is classic – nice find.