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Autonomous Vehicles – All Hype or Not?

Happy New Year Tague Friends!

I hope each of you had a phenomenal Christmas and New Year’s with your family and friends.  2016 was an interesting and productive year, but I am not one to dwell too much on the past as I would rather see us be forward leaning!  We will be recapping our 2016 group results at our member meeting on January 25th so I will save our look back for then.

One topic I do want to discuss because there was so much buzz about it was the “autonomous vehicle” trend that is sweeping our news cycles.  I read an article last year that said autonomous vehicles are still 30 years or more away. Yet the article below suggests the future may be closer than we think as progress by multiple companies continues to be made.  Who knows when autonomous vehicles will reach the masses, but there is a lot of money and momentum around this trend.  One thing is certain, Auto insurance will be impacted in unanticipated ways.

As builders of independent insurance agencies, we need to be thinking not only about our current reality, but really leaning into the future of what we can create in our businesses!  Things are changing and there are numerous macro-trends that will impact the opportunities we have.  Some of us will thrive with the change and others will die because of the change.  Those not willing to adapt and recreate themselves will be left behind.  I read a great quote, “strong convictions, loosely held”.  Meaning we need to have a strong sense of direction, but be willing to change course when new facts present themselves. Auto insurance will be different in 5+ years, we just don’t know how different. In the coming years, make sure that your premium portfolio is diversified.  Auto is a $19b premium market in California.  So it will continue to be an important part of your portfolio and growth.  However, as you create the future of your agency consider writing more Property, Commercial, Life, and any other insurance line that helps you have diversified revenue pillars.

You will hear me talking about “education” more and more and this means staying educated on a multi-faceted array of topics, not just insurance training.  So for your reading pleasure check out this snipet from an article by Peter Diamandis.  I encourage you to stay informed and educated on important trends.

Cheers to a robust and effective 2017!

Tony V

The Year of Autonomous Vehicles

2016 was definitely “the year of the autonomous vehicle.”

As Google, Tesla and Uber lead the charge, almost every major car company is investing heavily in autonomy.

This will be one of the defining technology developments of the decade — soon we may well look back in shock that we ever let humans drive cars on their own…

In looking back at the last 12 months, here are the top nine developments in self-driving cars:

a) Autonomous Uber Operational in Pittsburgh: Uber’s self-driving autonomous cars began picking up passengers in Pittsburgh this year. They also attempted a rollout in San Francisco.

b) Uber’s Self-Driving Trucks Made a Delivery of 50,000 Beers: This year, Uber acquired autonomous truck company Otto, and the retrofitted 18-wheeler made its first delivery… 50,000 cans of Budweiser.

c) Every Tesla Will Be Fully Autonomous in 2017: Elon Musk announced that all new Tesla cars will have Level 5 autonomy. This means that by 2017, Tesla cars will be fully capable of driving themselves with zero interaction from a human driver.

d) Ford Targets 2021 for Autonomous Vehicle Release: Ford announces intention to deliver high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ridesharing in 2021.

e) GM’s First Fully Autonomous Car: The company plans to bring its fully electric self-driving cars to the masses by launching its first driverless cars on Lyft.

f) Google Creates Waymo to Support Self-Driving Car Technology: Google spun out its self-driving car unit as its own separate entity called Waymo.

g) Google Plans Ride-Sharing Service with Chrysler: Google will deploy a semi-autonomous version of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan by as soon as the end of 2017.

h) Autonomy Will Kill Car Ownership: A former Tesla and BMW exec said that self-driving cars would start to kill car ownership in just fiveyears. John Zimmer, the cofounder and president of Lyft, said in September that car ownership would “all but end” in cities by 2025.

i) Self-Driving Tractors Hit Farms: The self-driving tractors can deliver faster, more precise results than their human-controlled counterparts.


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