RISK: 6 predictions for the age of autonomous cars: Allianz

Cars will be able to act as valets and doctors

Google’s named a new CEO of autonomous cars. GM is gunning to lead driverless driving. Uber has partnered with two universities to develop better technology. So what will cars be like in 20, 40, 100 years? Allianz has some ideas:

1. Anybody can take the keys

You won’t have to wait until your sixteenth birthday anymore–kids, the elderly, the vision-impaired and even the fast asleep will all be able to command a car. Google claims its automated cars’ software equals a driver with 75 years of driving experience.

Read: The age of autonomous cars is full of opportunity

2. Valet service included

One British survey found the average driver spends nearly four months of his life searching for parking. The connected car, however, will take over that job.

3. Calling Dr. Data

Cars will collect physical information about passengers–eye movements, heartbeats, skin temperatures and more–and may call for help if they notice alarming data. They could even drive them to the hospital or warn passengers something looks amiss before an emergency arises.

Read: Self-driving cars will shake up the insurance industry

4. Step up security systems

Hackers can control a car’s entertainment systems, ignitions and braking systems from their laptops, and they’re only going to get better. When cars rely more and more on the Internet, the more vulnerable they’ll become.

5. Tricky liability issues

Data shows 90 percent of road fatalities are caused by human error so driverless cars are likely to save lives. But they’re also likely to make liability way more complicated. Who’s responsible for a self-driving car that hits a pedestrian? Germany might have an answer.

“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,” says Alexander Vollert, board member at Allianz Deutschland. “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.”

Read: Muddy road signs and hidden pedestrians fill simulated city for driverless cars

6. Increased energy consumption

Driverless cars will be more energy-efficient than today’s gas-guzzlers but overall, they’ll use more energy since they’ll allow more people to travel to more places.

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