Driverless Cars Now On Sale In US: How Insurers Can Capitalize

Self-driving cars are nowhere close to bringing about the apocalypse for traditional vehicles, but they have moved a little closer to market with the latest developments from the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

While technology giants like Google have been tinkering with the concept for a number of years, one robotics company out of France is putting the proverbial money-where-the-mouth-is.

Induct announced on January 6 an “intelligent, electric and driverless vehicle,” Mashable reports that is now available for US customers.

Christened the Navia shuttle, the vehicle carries up to eight passengers at once and will most likely be used at airports, college campuses, theme parks, and sports arenas rather than by the individual consumer.

Navia is being marketed as an effective deterrent against pollution and high foot-traffic areas such as those we’ve just mentioned. It will cost around $250,000 and will help venues save money by not needing to hire a staff driver to operate similar vehicles.

Just how much will it save? About 40 percent, company representatives believe. In comments to Mashable, an unnamed rep advised that “Navia is different than other driverless vehicles out there because it is intelligent, self sufficient and environmentally friendly … Users can summon Navia from their smartphones like an Uber for driverless cars or call it up from their desktop.” http://mashable.com/2014/01/06/navia-driverless-shuttle/

 

The Navia Experience…

Say you want a ride on the Navia shuttle at a ballgame. What can you expect?

For starters, you would summon it using the app, and from there, the shuttle would pick you up at a specified destination. After climbing on board, you would then use the touchscreen controls to determine where you want to go.

After selecting the appropriate location, just sit back and wait for Navia to deliver you to your destination — no special rails, tracks, or paths required. Lasers and sensors, rather than GPS, get you where you need to go.

Safety and its go-anywhere marauding make the Navia a good candidate for consumer use should one have the means to purchase, but for now, due to cost, we would expect only businesses like those mentioned above to make an acquisition.

 

One Other Reason You May Not Want To Replace Your Car Just Yet…

Getting to your destination at no more than 12.5 miles per hour, while considerably safer, will certainly test your limits of patience. If you planned on replacing your car, however, that’s exactly what you would have to deal with in Navia.

“Navia can operate in any environment, with the necessary authorizations from local city, state and national authorities,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve already worked with several beta testers to enable the use of Navia at their locations with little issue.”

One currently deployed beta is at a technical college in Switzerland (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) as well as a high-security industrial park operated by the United Kingdom Atomic energy Authority.

 

One Last Thing Insurers May Wish To Consider…

If you’re an agent who works with large venues and companies/corporations possessing considerably-sized campuses, getting out ahead of widespread Navia adoption and calculating ways that you can save these clients money through the use of the shuttles is worth exploring. For every individual that a company employs, there is an insurance obligation. When you’re placing these employees at the controls of heavy machinery, liability needs go up.

Navia may be an initial $250,000 investment, but it could also lead to savings by reducing unnecessary personnel and by helping clients cut overall insurance costs.

While there is still a lot that needs to be done with Navia before it becomes as commonplace as traditional vehicles or even manned shuttles, taking a more forward-thinking approach to the needs of your clientele is a good practice that will always pay off, sooner or later.

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