The Tech Transportation Transfer
Quadrant Quick Take: Insurers need to watch carefully as tech giants like Google and Intel move into the auto and trucking industries.
In the fall of 2016, Intel Corporation announced its entry into the automotive industry, in the form of a two-year, $250-million investment by Intel Capital in autonomous, i.e. computer-controlled, driving technology. According to Intel, the money will benefit work in the areas of connectivity (of the car to the Internet), context awareness (the car understanding its surroundings), deep learning, and security.
Where does Intel come in? According to the company, the automobile industry needs to be prepared to handle as much as four terabytes of data generated by every car, every day. How much is that? A typical business person might go through 200 MB on a busy morning. By Intel’s reckoning, eventually your car, all by itself, will be generating 20,000 times as much data. As will every other car on the road. All of which, since it affects the lives and safety of the people inside the autonomous vehicles, will have to be processed flawlessly the first time.
The next few years will be a very interesting period as these two industries—tech and auto—learn to work together rather than separately. Intellectually, I think they need each other. Auto makers need to be jostled out of their natural conservatism, and the tech industry needs to understand that what works for IT products doesn’t work for everything.
All of which means we don’t know how all this is going to work out. We do know that—at least based on the evidence we’ve seen so far—the evidence in favor of autonomous vehicles is overwhelming, in terms of safety and reliability. We know there is a tight, natural fit between these industries, and that out of all of this will come, if not a new industry, a dramatically realigned set of players.
What we also know that those of us in the p&c insurance industry will be responsible for assessing risk in this new environment. To do that effectively—on behalf of our businesses, our employees, our customers, and our other stakeholders—we’ll need to stay abreast of developments and not get caught by surprise.
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