Some groundbreaking news from AG over in Belgium;
The technology of autonomous or self-driving cars is becoming increasingly efficient. A number of test projects have also been running in a traffic-free environment in Belgium for several years. With the commissioning of Olli 2.0, the General Hospital Maria Middelares in Ghent has the Belgian scoop of the first self-driving shuttle bus that is used in a real traffic situation.
AG insures the liability risk of this shuttle and uses this opportunity to gain knowledge and experience about autonomous vehicles. “A technological evolution that will fundamentally change not only our mobility, but also the way insurers deal with the associated risks within a few years,” says Managing Director Edwin Klaps.
On September 3, 2020, Olli 2.0 was officially put into use at the AZ Maria-Middelares in Ghent. Olli is a fully self-driving electric shuttle that can transport up to 8 passengers. In Ghent, it will be used to transport hospital visitors over a 600-metre route between the nearby tram stop and the hospital entrance.
This is a traffic-calmed route, which is, however, also open to other road users. Via its sensors equipped with artificial intelligence, Olli 2.0 is able to detect these road users and other obstacles and adjust its trajectory and speed autonomously. In the first phase, however, an attendant will be present on every journey from Olli to keep an eye on things and to reassure the passengers.
Edwin Klaps, Managing Director:
“For AG, this is a unique opportunity to better understand, estimate and assess the risks associated with this fundamental trend towards autonomous driving. In recent years we have already learned extensively with technologies that Support the driver to drive more safely and with less risk of accidents. Just think of Adaptive Cruise Control, emergency braking systems, blind spot signalling. AG was the first Belgian insurer to encourage its installation through premium discounts. All these technologies are just a precursor from an evolution to truly self-driving vehicles that are getting closer and closer. ”
Insurers base their pricing and risk acceptance on statistics and figures from the past to estimate future risks. The challenge with innovative technology such as autonomous cars is that there are hardly any or no reference points from the past. That is precisely why it is important for AG to be able to participate in projects such as this one, in order to gain insight into the risks in a controlled environment.
Edwin Klaps: “AG wants to continue to play and further strengthen its role in the mobility of the future. A project such as Olli, on a small scale yet in a real environment, offers us a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the phenomenon of autonomous vehicles and to learn to estimate the risks. We will therefore closely monitor the project, evaluate it regularly and, together with the customer, see how and where we can make adjustments to limit any risks. ”