The prominent self-driving vehicle technology firm Mobileye has now finished the installation of collision avoidance technology in around 4,500 “rideshare” service vehicles in New York City, according to a new press release on the matter.
The installation program — which was pursued in partnership with the insurance firm Atlas Financial Holdings — is intended to help reduce the number of auto collisions involving vehicles that are part of the Uber, Lyft, and related fleets, and thus to reduce insurance claims. (Editor’s side note: Uber & Lyft aren’t really “ridesharing” at this point — they’re on-demand taxis, app-based taxis, or something along those lines.)
The newly installed collision avoidance systems utilize “a high resolution vision sensor that analyzes potential dangerous scenarios in real time, alerting drivers to impending collisions and giving them enough time to react,” according to a blog post / press release from Mobileye.
“As the popularity of ridesharing continues to grow in cities across the country, it is imperative that these vehicles take advantage of new technologies designed to enhance the safety of drivers and passengers,” stated Moran David, Director of Business Development at Mobileye. “Mobileye’s system will provide vehicle owners and drivers peace of mind knowing that the most advanced technologies are in place to provide an extra layer of safety and protection to drivers and their passengers. We look forward to working closely with our partners to prevent collisions across the city, while improving the driving behavior of operators.”
The press release provides a bit more: “The Mobileye system integrates Pointer Telocation, a leading developer and operator of Fleet and Mobile Resource Management solutions, allowing vehicle and fleet owners the opportunity to review the driving behaviors of its operators.”
The news is noteworthy, in my opinion, because it draws attention to the complicated relationship between the insurance companies and self-driving vehicle technologies. While Atlas Financial Holdings is apparently happy to support the installation of technologies that will reduce the number of auto accidents amongst vehicles being used for on-demand taxi services, and thus payouts, the industry as a whole is likely threatened by the technology.
With a large rollout of fully autonomous vehicles (when and if this will happen are still open questions), the auto insurance companies may well find business to be a lot less lucrative. Or not. The implications of such a rollout are at his point still somewhat uncertain.