Munich Re America and Comet Conduct Feasibility Study on Autonomous Vehicle Data

The study will examine the implications of how autonomous vehicles both make driving safer and raise new questions about risk and liability, according to Munich Re.

(Image source: Munich Re.)

Munich Reinsurance America (Princeton, N.J.), and Comet (Brighton, Mich.), a developer of ground mobile robotics pilot projects, have engaged in a feasibility study focused on autonomous vehicle (AV) data and market development opportunities, according to a Munich Re announcement. The insurer describes the engagement as part of its overall commitment to understanding and developing solutions for emerging and future risks.

Tony Kuczinski, President & CEO, Munich Re America.

Tony Kuczinski, President & CEO, Munich Re America.

The study will examine the implications of how autonomous vehicles both make driving safer and raise new questions about risk and liability, according to Munich Re.

(Related: Why Munich Re and HSB Are Sponsoring the Plug and Play Internet of Things Accelerator)

“Autonomous vehicles are an emerging risk because they could potentially change how the public travels, how travel is regulated and the nature of transportation risk,” comments Tony Kuczinski, president and CEO, Munich Re America. “We believe that AV technology offers tremendous potential to save lives, reduce accidents, provide fuel economies, and improve road efficiencies. However, there is still much to learn before society can fully harness the benefits of this technology, and it is why we are working with Comet and other public and private entities to develop business solutions for this emerging risk.”

Corey Clothier, President, Comet.

Corey Clothier, President, Comet.

Comet works with corporations, government and end users to educate them about the advantages of vehicle automation through real work demonstrations and pilots, according to the company’s president, Corey Clothier. “Our engagement with Munich Re involves ‘kicking the tires’ to see how AV technology is applicable in the real world.”

(Related: NTSB’s Collision Avoidance Tech Recommendation Could Shrink Auto Insurance Premium)

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], vehicles with automated safety controls are already on the road, incorporating such features as adaptive cruise control used in combination with lane keeping. The NHTSA expects the number of AVs on the road to continue to increase, first as additions to existing vehicles and then as fully integrated systems.

Michael Scrudato, SVP, Munich Re America.

Michael Scrudato, SVP, Munich Re America.

As Munich Re has explored in its recent study, “Autonomous Vehicles: Considerations for Personal and Commercial Lines Insurers,” potential questions around AV risk and liability include whether personal liability might shift from the driver, to product liability on the part of the vehicle manufacturer or systems provider because of mechanical or software failure.

(Related: Anticipating Autonomous Vehicles’ Insurance Impact: Munich Re Study)

“In the transition to fully autonomous vehicles, there will be a variety of AV types on the road, which will add complexity in laws and law enforcement, liability and underwriting,” observes Mike Scrudato, senior VP, Strategic Innovation Leader at Munich Re America. Other risks include cyber security to protect the communications systems within and between vehicles.”

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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