8 ideas about the car of the future

There will be cars without drivers, cars can be hacked like computers and you will possibly be able to get five to six hours of sleep while driving from Munich to Hamburg or from San Francisco to San Diego. Here are eight ideas about the car of the future.
 

1. Everybody will “drive”

The very young and the very old, the sick and the blind – they all will be able to command the car of the future. Also, sleeping while the car is on auto pilot should not be a problem in the future. To school, from the doctor’s and so on. Google claims that its automated cars’ software equals a driver with 75 years of driving experience. Meaning that being driven should be safer and less complicated for most people than driving.


2. No more search for parking spots


106 days of your average life of a driver are spent by looking for parking spots – at least this is what a British survey recently found out. You will be able to use this time for nicer things in the future. The connected car will find a parking lot by itself.


3. Your car’s your ambulance

Infrared cameras checking your eyelids’ movements; seats supervising your heart beat and your skin temperature: cars are collecting more and more physical data about their drivers. And they might be able to call an ambulance or even drive you to a hospital if they recognize alarming data. Which they will be able to transmit to the doctor as well.


4. Your car might be hacked – again

They had worked on this for more than a year – but finally, two hackers managed to remotely hijack a Jeep Cherokee wirelessly in July 2015. Not only were they able to turn the fan on and off, pump up the volume of the radio, but they eventually managed to kill the car and take over brakes and steering wheels by digitally breaking into the car’s entertainment system. Consequently, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars and had owners install a supposedly secure software update. The more cars get connected to the internet, the more vulnerable they might get to virtual attacks, cybersecurity advocates argue.

5. Less but more complicated accidents

Around 1.2 million people are killed in road accidents every year worldwide. Over 90 per cent of all these accidents, research has shown, are due to driving mistakes. This means that the fully automated inter-connected vehicles will guide and warn each other. And thus cause probably much less accidents – but more complicated ones. Who will be responsible, for example, if a self-driving car parks itself and hits a pedestrian? The “driver”? The company that built the car? Or the one who built the data transmission system? Or the one who programmed the software? Insurance companies will have to reconsider their insurance rate calculations, lawmakers will have to adopt new regulations.
 Nothing is impossible for the car of the future. Solutions are being found for both hacker attacks and insurance coverage.
Nothing is impossible for the car of the future. Solutions are being found for both hacker attacks and insurance coverage.
6. The scariest part of driving will stay: You and me!

The state of California allows Google to have its autonomous cars tested on public roads – but insists on steering wheels and brakes. Since, presumably, the robo chauffeur will not make us completely obsolete for the time being. Stanford University professor Clifford Nass says: "There are going to be times where the driver has to take over. And that turns out to be by far the most dangerous and totally understudied issue." Snow, heavy rainfalls, dense fog and even sunlight from certain angles might inhibit the car’s sensors. Once people get used to being driven for most of the time, however, their driving skills might deteriorate. And somebody who hast just been reading a book or writing an email obviously has a much slower reaction time than a constant driver.


7. More energy needed

Yes, the self driving car will most likely drive more efficiently than the traditional automobile. Yes, it will supposedly be powered by electricity, hydrogen or other non-fossile energy sources. And yes, things like the 60 mile traffic jam in China from 2010 that lasted two weeks and burnt an incalculable amount of fuel will be a thing of the past. But no, the general energy consumption of the car might not go down – it might actually rise. A study by researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor claims that autonomous autos could reverse a years-long trend of declining fuel consumption since the self-driving car will allow for much more trips for much more people. The average car usage per vehicle in the US, they calculated, will rise from 11.661 to 20.406 miles per year.


8. What happens if you have an accident with an autonomous car? German law could be groundbreaking in this respect.

For this question, we asked Alexander Vollert, Member of the board at Allianz Deutschland: “We at Allianz in Germany do not believe that there is a need for new liability regulations for autonomous cars to be brought into effect. The German insurance model already includes protection for the traffic accident victim if damage is caused by partly- and fully-automated vehicles and vehicles moving autonomously, as well as in the event of accidents caused by hacker attacks. The German liability system states that the car owner is liable regardless whether the accident happened because of a mistake of his or because of the vehicle. This basic concept still works, even in an age of increasing vehicle automation. The traffic accident victim is not at any risk of having to contend with the driver or the manufacturer as to whether the driver made a mistake or whether the assistance system is to blame. As a result, the German example is well-suited as a model for a European solution.”
Alexander Vollert, Member of the board at Allianz Deutschland: “We at Allianz in Germany do not believe that there is a need for new liability regulations for autonomous cars to be brought into effect.”
Alexander Vollert, Member of the board at Allianz Deutschland: “We at Allianz in Germany do not believe that there is a need for new liability regulations for autonomous cars to be brought into effect.”

As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our Forward Looking Statement disclaimer:

 

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Bettina Sattler
Allianz SE
Phone +49 89 3800 16048
Send e-mail

Christian Weishuber
Allianz Deutschland AG
Phone +49 89 3800 18169
Send email

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