This latest piece is by Carla Hopkins, senior vertical market manager, LexisNexis Risk Solutions UK & Ireland, and looks at the challenges posed by autonomous vehicles and the evolution of ADAS systems in modern cars. Technology also offers potential benefits to insurers and brokers as part of the roadmap to the future.
The UK Government has firm ambitions for vehicle autonomy and connectivity. Back in August 2020, it opened a consultation for views on its proposal to allow the use of Assisted Lane Keeping Systems on UK motorways. Its latest predictions suggest 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities by 2035 with connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) helping to prevent thousands of serious accidents and save lives.
As levels of autonomy increase and car connectivity grows, insurance providers will need to understand the direct impact these developments will have on claims frequency and severity to help price insurance and evolve their offerings. They will need access to dynamic data direct from the car and vehicle build data about the car’s safety features to offer the more personalised cover consumers will expect.
Anticipating this need, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems data is already being tested by the market and the foundations are in place to bring car manufacturers and insurance providers together to deliver vehicle data driven insurance to their common customer through a data exchange.
Consumers will also need to get on board. Education and awareness of the benefits of CAVs will be vital to build trust and adoption. But the first step should perhaps be to improve ADAS awareness.
Most of us expect to get behind the wheel of an unfamiliar car and almost intuitively know how to operate it. We may assume we will be in full control and will know how the vehicle will behave. The increasingly availability and capabilities of ADAS in vehicles is changing these assumptions. These systems are designed to make journeys safer and reduce the margin for human error. Some in-car safety features can even complete manoeuvres safer than the driver can, as car manufacturers constantly develop their ADAS technology as part of their zero fatality objectives.
Given 80% of new cars on sale in the UK today are offered with a self-activating safety system, helping drivers understand the ‘what, why and how’ of ADAS has obvious benefits. Insurance providers might see an opportunity to play a role in that process. Through the data they can now access on the presence and purpose of ADAS at a VIN level, they can start to build an inherent understanding of how specific safety features impact risk. It’s not just the features that come as standard, but also those chosen as optional extras and how different features when available in combination on a vehicle or as part of a custom package can reduce accident risk.
The degree to which drivers are familiar with the ADAS on their vehicle may hinge on a number of factors, not least whether they chose the car specifically for those features or paid to have them added as optional extras. As ADAS equipped vehicles filter down to the used car market the risk is that ADAS awareness dissipates. With that comes the risk of frustration, confusion, lack of utilisation, incorrect use and unintended use, as highlighted by a recent report from J.D. Power.
A study by Brake and Direct Line in 2019 of over 2000 drivers found more than half of respondents did not know what some of the most common ADAS technology was, the same amount did not think their cars were fitted with the technology (to their knowledge); and more than half said if they were to buy a new car, they would not spend more or were not sure whether they would spend more, to ensure it had the technology.
From the consumer’s perspective it’s not surprising they could be confused when you consider the wide array of descriptions, functions and calibrations for ADAS across car manufacturers.
Now that that a common ADAS classification system has been created by LexisNexis® Risk Solutions for our LexisNexis® Vehicle Build solution, the potential opens up for insurance providers to pass on the knowledge to customers, should they want it, at point of quote or application and help drivers get ADAS aware. This value-add could even have an impact on claims losses. More awareness, may lead to better utilisation, safer journeys and fewer road accidents.