by Charles NguyenApril 26, 2012
Study finds public warming to autonomous car features as Google exec publicizes driverless car efforts
This week has been exciting for followers of emerging automotive technology as a study was released gauging public reaction to autonomous driving and a Google executive spoke at an industry conference about the company’s latest efforts in the field, both events that underscore the growing interest in the possibility of a self-driving car, according to Online Auto Insurance.
Drivers with high-tech add-on devices who go to compare car insurance policies with comprehensive and collision insurance should check whether they will be fully covered for all of their add-on features in the case that the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Some insurers cover up to a certain amount, leaving vehicle owners to pay for the rest of pricey add-ons that could have been covered with additional special equipment or accessory coverage types.
A report from J.D. Power and Associates released Thursday showed that vehicle owners are increasingly interested in infotainment devices, driver-assisting features and autonomous driving modes.
Owners surveyed listed the top five technologies they would “definitely” or “probably” purchase for their next vehicle. Before knowing the price, respondents listed, in order of interest:
--Light-emitting diode headlights
--Natural language voice activation
--Next generation head-up display
--Wireless connectivity system
--Remote vehicle diagnostics
After learning the at-market cost of features, respondents listed, in order of interest:
--Enhanced collision mitigation system
--Wireless connectivity system
--Personal assistance safety services
The report also looked into semi- and fully-autonomous driving technologies that were billed as “the newest, and the most expensive” features in the study.
Framing the changing tastes in the marketplace, 41 percent of respondents who expressed interested in the driver-assisting parallel parking tool that is currently popular also expressed interested in fully-autonomous driving modes that are currently unavailable.
Much of that potential interest may cool once customers learn about the price of driverless technology. Thirty-seven percent of respondents in the study said they were interested in such equipment, but that figure dropped to 20 percent after respondents were told that such features would cost $3,000.
But price may not be a deterrent to owners of premium vehicles, 31 percent of whom said they would buy driverless technology even after learning about the price tag.
Separate research by the firm into social media activity related to autonomous driving found that “sentiment is generally positive.” One of the main forces behind that interest is online giant Google, which is in the middle of a much-publicized project to bring a self-driving car to the market and is reportedly looking at the insurance implications.
Anthony Levandowski, a project manager for the self-driving car, spoke Wednesday about its progress at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit, saying that, “people out there want this technology.”
“People are already doing other things in their car, they need a robotic system to drive their cars for them every day,” Levandowski said in a video interview with the SAE. “[M]ore and more companies are going to show that they have this kind of technology working.”
The technology’s progression is at a point where self-driving cars are as safe as human drivers, according to Levandowski.
Developing the technology and introducing it to the market are starkly different endeavors, according to a Stanford University study into autonomous devices. Researchers said that although the smooth acceptance of driving-assistance systems by consumers shows progress toward fully autonomous driving, “the legal and policy situation remain unclear” around driving that doesn’t involve human decision-making.
“This presents an arguably novel situation wherein artificial intelligence acts on behalf of a human with life or death consequences,” authors of the 2010 study stated. “It is unclear how courts, regulators and the public will react to accidents involving robotic cars. Overreaction is a clear danger, even [if it could] be shown that a transition to autonomous vehicles leads to far fewer traffic-related deaths over all.”
Researchers recommended "special insurance policies for autonomous vehicles."
Levandowski told attendees that Google is in talks with both automakers and insurance companies as the tech giant pushes to introduce driverless products to the market, according to media reports.
Questions of manufacturing and insurance won’t stop something Levandowski said he sees as inevitable.
“Long-term, I just can’t imagine any cars being sold without this technology on it,” he said. “Just like seat belts, air bags, radio, you’re going to need a car that drives itself for some of the time.”
For more on this and related issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/compare/ for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.
News Source: http://www.free-press-release.com/news-online-auto-insurance-emerging-tech-piques-interests-sparks-questions-1335480042.html
Official Website: http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/
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