We’ve spoken a lot here about how telematics can lead to reductions in the cost of your insurance premium, but what about other technologies? One of them is autonomous emergency braking, which we’ve been told could soon become a mandatory feature for all new cars being produced in the UK. Soon there’s going to be one more incentive to pick up a car with it though, as insurers are discussing applying heavy discounts to policies that are for a car fitted with the tech.
MORE TH>N is the first insurer to take the plunge, announcing a 16 per cent cut to insurance rates to both new and existing customers with vehicles that come fitted with AEB. Head of MORE TH>N, Daniel Robinson, said in a statement:
“We regularly see car accidents caused by late braking or braking without enough force and the impact can be devastating. As this technology significantly reduces the likelihood of having a crash, we believe it’s right to reward drivers who have it fitted in their car which is why we’re discounting their premiums.”
AEB was recently praised for its merits in reducing accidents, with some experts predicting that if it was made mandatory for all new cars, by the year 2025, we’d see a reduction in about 50 per cent of road fatalities in the UK alone. That would represent around 800 people a year, which is certainly significant. Of course it would also help reduce injuries such as whiplash, which alone costs the UK over £2 billion a year.
Over time it’s thought that AEB could be considered a must have safety feature in vehicles, right alongside airbags and seatbelts. While mostly effective at speeds under 25 miles per hour, in the future it’s thought it could become versatile enough to avoid crashes at much higher speeds.
Autonomous braking technology works by using lasers and radar to detect potential collisions, which it is then able to warn the driver about. In the event of the driver not reacting, the brakes can be applied automatically, thereby potentially avoiding, but at the very least, reducing the impact of, a crash. However, despite its potential, only a handful of cars currently come equipped with the technology and for those that have it as an option, it’s often part of expensive upgrade packs that can cost thousands, deterring customer uptake.
Peter Shaw, the chief executive of the motor insurance industry’s research organisation Thatcham, said (via MoneyWise): “Thatcham has been testing and researching AEB equipped cars for three years now and believe these braking systems will soon be considered just as essential as airbags and seatbelts for car safety by helping avoid the crashes that cause injury and damage.”
AEB is also being developed to work with technologies that are specific to certain instances. For example, Volvo is currently working on an AEB technology to avoid animals on the road. In Sweden, where the company is based, moose, deer and other large animals can often be the cause of nasty accidents, especially since they roll up onto the bonnet and potentially impact the driver directly. It’s hoped that with its technology it will be able to spot these animals at a distance, in the dark and at the roadside before crossing, providing pre-emptive braking should thee driver not see it too.