ADAS, electric vehicles and ridesharing: emerging trends for new approaches to mobility
We have always had the need for mobility, some way to get from one place to another in and around our cities. However, over the course of our recent history our options for how we could do this have constantly changed. In just a few centuries, our means of transportation have advanced tremendously, but if we could look back from the future at our current reality, we would realize that the changes occurring now are faster and more disruptive than ever.
Ten years ago, for example, the big decision a person would be facing when shopping for a new car would be whether to choose a gasoline or diesel model. However, the options available to us today are much more complex. Instead of just gasoline or diesel, we need to think about whether it would be better to buy an electric vehicle, or perhaps a hybrid model. The increasing interest in sustainability, and greater ecological awareness, have brought with them a need to consider new aspects pertaining to these subjects.
Our society as a whole is now confronting this new reality, and the insurance industry is no exception. It will need to find ways to respond to the new insurance needs this situation is creating. Will it be sufficient just to add some specific new coverage types to a conventional insurance policy, so it can be adapted to the use of electric vehicles, or is there a need to develop entirely new products? We must remember, for example, that 30% of the cost of an electric vehicle corresponds to just one element: the battery. In addition, electric and hybrid vehicles have much higher level of connectivity among all of their elements, which means that the consequences of a cyberattack may increase exponentially. At MAPFRE we are responding to these needs with our Change Line of products. This line offers, for example, a policy for rechargeable electric or hybrid cars, with specific coverage designed for vehicles of these types.
Driver assistance systems for improving safety
The automotive industry has also changed substantially in just a short amount of time. The systems now used to protect vehicles and their drivers have little in common with those that existed just a few decades ago. The good news is that they have become much more sophisticated, with many new features. The logical result is a significant decrease in the number of fatal vehicle accidents.
One example of these new systems is known as ADAS, which is an acronym that has taken on great importance in the auto industry. It stands for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems. First of all, it must be made clear that this is a type of system that assists, rather than replaces, a vehicle’s driver. Fully autonomous driving may be on its way, but for now, it has not yet become a reality on our streets and highways.
Some examples of ADAS that manufacturers are increasingly adding to their vehicles as standard features include blind spot monitoring, systems that emit a warning if an unintended lane change is occurring, and detectors that can trigger automatic braking in an emergency situation where a pedestrian suddenly appears in front of a vehicle.
The insurance industry is also paying attention to these new systems and analyzing their influence, with a specific focus on how they can help decrease risks and therefore increase protection. This falls squarely within the scope of the research work performed at MAPFRE’s Road Safety Experimentation Center (CESVIMAP). The good news is that research is demonstrating that ADAS do have a positive impact on accident rates, and lives are being saved. These new systems are also being taken into account when calculating the premiums charged for automobile insurance policies. For example, MAPFRE is using this as a factor when creating personalized prices for its customers. Having a vehicle with advanced driver-assistance systems has a positive effect for vehicle owners, for two reasons. On one hand, it lowers the cost of insuring their vehicle, and on the other hand, it helps increase protection against accidents for all occupants of their vehicle, as well as for others such as pedestrians and cyclists.
There are other types of changes emerging that are also having very significant effects on our society. Traditionally, the concept of mobility has largely been associated with owning an automobile. However, this has already begun to change, especially among the younger generations, and another aspect has begun to take on special significance instead. What is increasingly viewed as most important now is not necessarily owning a vehicle, but the entire concept of mobility. This is because there has been a very widespread increase in the use of vehicle sharing, mobility using personal vehicles such as electric scooters, and ridesharing services. Many young people no longer dream of owning their own car. Instead, they want to have a whole range of mobility options available to them. In this is where the importance of data comes into play. All of these new forms of mobility are generating a huge quantity of data, and we need to find ways of using that data to improve not only our mobility options, but our safety as well.