Self-Driving Car Features and How They Can Affect Car Insurance?

By Laxita Gautam
  | Published: 06 September 2021

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With the rising popularity of self-driving cars in the western parts of the world, Dubai has also taken the much-awaited step of rolling out self-driving autonomous vehicles on the roads soon enough. Beginning small with just taxies and other similar vehicles, the age of autonomous vehicles is slowly gaining upon. While it is a huge step for mankind, technology and automotive science, the arrival of self-driving vehicles can make a huge impact on the car insurance industry across the world. It is evident that driverless cars are going to introduce a huge change in the insurance outlook of the vehicles but the question is how. How would the exceptionally smart features of self-driving cars in the UAE make an impact on the insurance outlook of the vehicle? This article will discuss all the safety and driving features of the new and upcoming self-driving cars and how they may change the auto insurance world. 

Autonomous Vehicles – The Different Levels of Automation

Just like you get new features in your phone with every software update, or just like there is a difference among the features of electronic devices from different ranges, the autonomous self-driving cars also come with several different levels of functions. Every level or stage will have a different level of autonomy and other kinds of functions. Following are the levels of autonomous vehicles:

  • Stage 1: The first level of automation uses an Advanced Driver Automation System or ADAS. The automatic features in stage 1 self-driving cars can include brakes/acceleration or a steering system. Generally, only one of these two systems is automated in Stage 1 automatic cars. These cars still have to be driven by a driver as the autonomous vehicle rules state. 
  • Stage 2: Going one step ahead, these cars can contain both brakes + acceleration and steering system in automatic form. They can also be used simultaneously at the same time. But Stage 2 cars would still require supervision of human drivers as well as their presence to monitor other functions. 
  • Stage 3: By the third stage, automatic cars ADS (Automated Driver System) can do pretty much anything related to technical driving tasks. Automatic cars with this safety level can be driven fully automatically without driver’s assistance. However, it is required for the driver to be present at all times in case ADS malfunctions or is not in the optimal condition to be used. Attention must be paid at all times as per autonomous vehicle rules.
  • Stage 4: Stage 4 ADS can do everything, whether it is driving or other small tasks related to the car machinery. A stage 4 ADS can also monitor the temperature of the car and handle the mechanism accordingly. It does not require constant attention from the driver either.
  • Stage 5: This is the final and most developed stage of the automatic driving system. The ADS can do anything that a driver would, judge the optimal conditions to drive and do not require the presence of a driver either as per autonomous vehicle rules. This level of automation is yet to be achieved by the techs working on these features. However, it is expected to get these ADS features in automatic cars in the next ten years or so. 

Also Read Supercar Insurance in the UAE – All You Need to Know and Do

What are the Current Features Available in Self-Driving Cars?

Following are some of the top safety features that most self-driving cars in the UAE have by now. Some of these features were introduced only recently while others were launched a few backs.

  • Forward collision warning 
  • Blindspot detection
  • Electronic stability control 
  • Automatic emergency breaking 
  • Lane centering assist 
  • Lane departure warning 
  • Pedestrian emergency breaking
  • Rear automatic emergency breaking
  • Rear cross-traffic alerts 
  • Video monitoring system for rear view of the car

Some other upcoming features for partially automated cars are:

  • Adaptive cruise control 
  • Self-parking intelligence 
  • Lane keep assistance
  • Traffic jam assistance 

What are the Advantages of Self-Driving Cars?

It is evident that self-driving automatic cars are going to be quite a sensation in the upcoming future. Out of the long list of advantages and benefits that self-driving cars that self-driving cars will be introducing to the world, given below are some of the most prominent ones:

Added Safety 

An average of 2 people dies every day in a road accident as per the recent statistical report. Road accidents are actually the second biggest reason for death in the UAE. Careless driving, not adhering to traffic rules, not keeping enough distance in-between vehicles, not checking blind spots, drunk driving and entering highways are just some of the reasons that lead to so many road accidents every year in the UAE. Road accidents are expected to be cut down by 1/3rd of their original number, even with Stages 2 to 4 safety standards of automatic cars where the presence of drivers is necessary as per autonomous vehicle rules. Since carelessness is not something AI will be engineered to follow, most reasons for road accidents are expected to get under control or diminish soon. 

More Options for Differently-Abled People 

Conventional cars require the driver to handle everything from brakes and acceleration to checking the road and making hands-on decisions. This leads to increased dependence of differently-abled folks on someone who can drive. The automatic cars solve this and many other similar troubles for the differently-abled people who cannot drive by themselves. The increased level of freedom is something that most people would like to achieve. 

Green Driving 

In places where automatic cars have already been rolled out in the streets, such as the USA, it has been observed that the carbon-di-oxide emission went down about sixty per cent. With automatic vehicles on the road leading to better road conditions and safer driving practices, fuel consumption is also expected to go down significantly. Even if minimal results are achieved when it comes to environmental damage control, the difference made will still be quite important in the long run for the planet. 

Also Read Electric Car Insurance: Types, Benefits, Cost and How to Buy?

How Can Safety and Other Features of Automatic Cars Affect Insurance?

The biggest question here is that how the ascend of automatic cars is going to affect the all-over picture of the car insurance industry and its operation in the UAE. While these changes may have a few years on hand before they start showing, the probability of them emerging is quite high. Let’s examine how automatic cars may change the car insurance industry in the UAE and the world. 

Lesser Risks

The whole concept of automatic vehicles, as of now, rests on the fact that they will be a lot safer than the conventional ones driven by human drivers. While the automatic car manufacturers and designers are yet to provide concrete proof of this statement being a hundred per cent true, the fact remains. With safety features like sensors, artificial intelligence and processing units, automatic cars are indeed going to be a lot safer than conventional ones. This means decreased risk pool for the insurance companies when they are out to insure automatic vehicles. Lower risk is directly proportional to lower premiums in the insurance industry. The prices of automatic car insurance are not decreased yet because the technology and parts used in these cars are quite expensive and hard to obtain. But if the technology used in making automatic vehicles becomes cheaper and more affordable in the upcoming times, the car insurance sector may very well have to reduce the premiums when insuring automatic cars. 

Fewer Accidents 

The claimed decrement percentage for road accidents with automatic cars is set at 60-70%. Achieving even a part of this claimed percentage would mean a great deal in terms of both road safety and car insurance prices. Road accidents are the biggest reason for people to submit claims against their car insurance plans as well as for the increment in car insurance premium rates. Road safety and safe driving are linked directly to your car insurance plan in the UAE. If road accidents are decreased, it will ultimately lead to a clean driving record for the owners and hence reduce insurance prices as well. 

Change in Liability 

Car insurance plans work on a liability system – in case of a collision or an accident, who was at fault and with whom the liability lies. With the soon to disappear role of drivers from automatic vehicles this liability will have to shift from the person to the product – i.e., the car itself. As of now, we only have stages 2 to 4 automation available in the market which means that drivers are still necessary for the car to be driven, as per autonomous vehicle rules. So, for now, if an accident takes place in autopilot mode, the liability will still lie with the driver because they were supposed to monitor the driving process. But this can soon change drastically once fully automated cars are introduced. 

Future Plans and Strategy for Self-Driving Vehicles in the UAE

As far as the arrival of automatic vehicles in the UAE are concerned, we can see quite a few Tesla cars roaming about the roads of Dubai. But UAE government soon plans to roll out public transports that are also automatic. The goal is to change up to 25% of all kinds of transportation systems in Dubai to driverless or self-driving. This will include vehicles like shuttle buses, taxies, metros, trams, public buses and marine transportation systems. Since car insurance companies deal with insurance of most of these vehicles as well, they may see a change of operation in this area as well. 

Read More: 10 Electric Cars to Buy in the UAE

Conclusion

Completely automatic cars are yet to be a part of our world. Companies like Tesla are working towards creating a prototype of these as of this particular moment too. There have been prototypes and beta versions of fully autonomous cars released recently but the concrete roll-out is yet to arrive. But given the advancement of science and technology, we can safely say that fully automated cars are a very real possibility shortly. Whenever it happens, the emergence of these vehicles is going to bring a huge change in the car insurance industry as well, falling along the lines we discussed and maybe more. The introduction of driverless cars can mean a very promising deal for car owners though. A sharp fall in premium prices and many other possibilities lurk around the corner with the estimated affordability of autonomous vehicle technology and increased safety standards of driving. For the environment, for the owners and the life expectancy, autonomous cars are going to be a means of great change. 

Laxita Gautam
Laxita Gautam137 Posts

Senior Content Writer | She functions on classic British fiction, Japanese manga, and strong americanos. Laxita is tailor-made to create engaging, interactive pieces that offer simplified insights into complex subjects.