New car technology could reduce car insurance premiums by £4 billion within five years

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In less than five years from now British drivers could well be paying substantially less for their motor insurance premiums as a direct result of government proposals which are set to take effect as of 2017.

Rumoured to be costing somewhere in the region of £150 million to roll-out, the ‘connected roads’ Innovation Strategy trial is going live as of next year and will see advanced technology and driver assistance systems pave the way for UK drivers paying much cheaper car policies by 2020.

self driving carsHighways England recently revealed the government-backed scheme whereby a combination of radar, wi-fi compatible stretches of road network and the advent of autonomous vehicles will come together to actively encourage the free-flow of traffic (courtesy of revised junctions, the adoption of dedicated refuge areas and the further enabling of live journey data).

Aside from this evolution of ‘smart info’, sensors built into various sections of the roads earmarked for the 2017 trials will provide key information on the actual conditions of the highways themselves, including the state of bridges and tunnels so as to specifically target areas and surfaces which require more urgent attention.

Meanwhile electronic, wi-fi-enabled provisions will be made so that transient journey data can be transmitted directly to individual vehicles comprising of alerts and prompts regarding lane changes or the following of alternative routes in the event of delays being predicted.

Elsewhere as part and parcel of how this ground-breaking new road technology will be utilised, radar detectors located in tunnels and motorways will monitor traffic flow and immediately update control centres moments after a vehicle becomes stationary on a carriageway so relevant measures can be determined and put in place then and there, ultimately to relieve the pandemonium and subsequent gridlock which manifests shortly after a breakdown is acknowledged.

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Perhaps the revelation which stands out the most from initial observations about just how this major roads trial is going to play out in a little over 12 months from now is confirmation that autonomous cars will be used to a certain degree as part of the initiative, along with the onset of adaptive traffic lights which react to traffic build-up and perceived flow at various times of day and night and automatically respond to the transient situation.

The heralding of self-drive cars in one capacity or another has been mooted for a while now, and the Innovation Strategy is geared up to help place the UK at the forefront of automated vehicle technology sooner rather than later. This in itself – with the whole insurance liability question potentially shifting from individual drivers/traditional policyholders to driverless car manufacturers or road/tech network providers – will be of particular importance to many motorists, with mapping company HERE and insurer, Swiss Re forecasting that by 2020 motor premiums will be slashed by a possible £14 billion as a consequence of changing responsibilities.

Running until 2021, the plans for a so-called ‘connected corridor’ situated between London and Kent (and affecting the A2/M2 carriageways) will come as welcome news for many motoring organisations who have long predicted the emergence of a more technology-harnessed means of personal transportation that affords the sharing of information between vehicles and command centres, whilst it’s believed that dedicated driver assistance systems will be equipped to 180 million cars within 4 years’ time to further this cause.

Speaking about the plans, Chief Executive of Highways England, Jim O’Sullivan said; “We will work with our partners in the supply chain, technology specialists and the automotive industry to trial new tech that will help make journeys safer, more reliable and better informed.”

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