Have you ever imagined what cars of the future might be like? Do you envision flying machines? Those that transform according to the needs of the driver? Or self-driving vehicles? It almost seems a little too far-fetched to actually become a reality. You may be surprised to know that we may not be as far away from driving these vehicles as you might think. In fact, flying vehicles and self-driving cars do already exist! They may not be sold commercially (yet) but they are out there.
Up, Up, and Away!
For example, the company Terrafugia is known for its flying cars. When these cars are on the road, they look much like you would expect a plane to look. The difference is that the wings fold in half and are up against the sides of the vehicle. They are small enough to drive alongside other cars and are filled up at a regular gas station. The driver can then drive to a local airport, transform the car into a plane, and take off down the runway.
This model is appropriately named the Transition. Terrafugia plans production on other models in the near future, including a model called the TF-X, which would simply allow for vertical takeoff and landings (perhaps a bit closer to your futuristic idea of cars from old movies.)
Dude, where’s my car?
And the self-driving car? Yes, those exist too. Google Robot Cars come equipped with approximately $150,000 worth of equipment in them. They have lasers that allows for 3D mapping of the road and everything surrounding the car. They use radio signals to detect motion around them. They do everything a human can do, and they can do it better, according to Google. The company cites safety as being its main motivation for manufacturing this vehicle.Google believes that these cars will drastically decrease traffic deaths.
Broken headlight will cost what!?
And this brings up an interesting topic of insurance; how will it be affected by these types of futuristic vehicles? Will there still be a need for the newest CTP green slips and vehicle insurance? It would seem that the answer might be “no” as humans, imperfect as we are, would not be operating these machines anymore. Would traffic run more flawlessly than ever before with greater safety? If this were the case, insurance would not really be necessary, as no-one would be getting harmed (and what a wonderful day that would be!)
Or perhaps things wouldn’t be quite so good after all. The fact is that no matter what, human beings will be manufacturing the vehicles. And once again, they are imperfect by nature. And if I have learned anything about machines, I know that they malfunction from time to time. It’s a given. And for this reason, it is logical to expect malfunction errors in any type of vehicle. Trusting a vehicle to drive you around really is a bit of a daring act, isn’t it? Accidents will likely always happen. Glitches are likely to always occur. But hopefully these self-driving vehicles do decrease the amount of accidents somewhere down the road.
You take the highroad, I’ll take the low
So once again, how will the insurance industry be impacted? Will the need for insurance increase or decrease? When it comes to the flying car, it would seem rather likely that insurance, whether vehicle or injury, would skyrocket for a time. After all, an accident in the sky is quite a bit more serious than an accident on the ground. Perhaps life insurance plans would also be modified because of this new type of travel.
And in regards to self-operating vehicles, it is difficult to say how the insurance industry will be affected. Perhaps the industry will see a shift in the types of insurance that are widely used and needed. For example, insurances for bodily injury may decrease a bit once several of the bugs are worked out of the vehicle. But perhaps, due to the incredible amount of expensive technology that is involved in the car, vehicle insurance might go up drastically in order to cover the expenses of potential car damage.
So while the insurance industry might see a change in the types of insurances needed and required for drivers, it is likely that we will need insurance for years to come.
License: Royalty Free or iStock
License: Royalty Free or iStock source: www.123rf.com
About Author: David Glenn is a home improvement expert and auto industry professional. He occasionally freelance writes about home security and DIY home repair, along with what is going on in the auto and auto insurance industry.