As the electric and autonomous car continues to develop, the question of insurance begins to arise. Will it one day be possible to reduce the subscription price thanks to LiDAR sensors considered more reliable than other technologies in terms of driving aids? In any case, that is what the company Luminar Tech, supplier of Mercedes, which has just joined forces with the Swiss Re insurer, expects.
If some people thought that it would soon be possible to go to work in our sleep while the car drives us safely, this is unfortunately not yet possible. But many manufacturers are working on it, such as Tesla, which already offers its Autopilot system and its FSD (full self-driving), which we had the opportunity to test.
An unprecedented partnership
But the firm is obviously not the only one. We think, for example, of Ford, which would even offer the best autonomous driving system, just like Mercedes. The manufacturer has just signed a new collaboration with the American company Luminar Tech to equip its cars with a more efficient LiDAR sensor. This will make it possible to offer even safer level 3 autonomous driving.
As a reminder, this technology is already offered in the EQS and the S-Class and is approved in Europe and in Nevada, up to 60 km/h. And who says safer driving says less risk of accidents, while this system would also help to reduce “ghost” traffic jams on highways. So if driverless cars are less dangerous, it would make sense for this to be reflected in the cost of insurance.
This is precisely what Luminar Tech is working on, not to be confused with photo editing software that uses artificial intelligence. The American company, which already collaborates with Volvo in addition to the Chinese Brand Rising Auto has just announced the signing of a partnership with the insurer Swiss Re. This will take place in several stages.
First, and as the firm explains in a press release, it will try to analyze and “ quantify road performance and safety improvements of commercial and consumer vehicles equipped with Luminar LiDAR“. These tests must refer to vehicles already equipped, such as the new Volvo EX90, the Rising Auto R7 and F7, as well as the 100% electric Mercedes S-Class and EQS.
Towards a lower price?
But Luminar Tech wants to go even further as part of this new alliance. In fact, according to the company, the vehicles that have chosen its technology could benefit from reduced rates on your car insurance. An advantage that, therefore, will be reserved only for the latter, so that manufacturers who have chosen another provider will not be able to take advantage of it. Unless they join forces with other companies.
This new offering designed with Swiss Re should be available to customers of LiDAR-equipped cars next year in the United States. As a reminder, this type of sensor is distinguished from others by its ability to analyze your environment with great precision and map it. However, it is still very expensive, which is why it is only installed on high-end models.
This partnership should mark a turning point for the autonomous car, while some manufacturers such as Mercedes believe that level 4 will be reached by the end of the decade. This should also reassure motorists a little more, while the legislation already highlights that the responsibility lies with the brands in the event of an accident. Suffice it to say that they therefore have every interest in offering ultra-reliable technology to avoid problems like Tesla with its Autopilot. It is for this particular reason that the firm does not offer its FSD (technically level 3 but legally level 2) in Europe.
But will LiDAR soon be obsolete? In any case, it will have to face a competitor of weight, developed by the French company Plastic Omnium, which presented at CES in Las Vegas a 4D radar sensor integrated directly into the bumper. Less expensive to repair, it is also more compact and more efficient. In addition, it is less sensitive to weather conditions and consumes less energy.
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