Autonomous vehicles will reduce collision speed and severity says expert

Published: December 11, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



As the increase in autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles grows through the coming decade, speed collisions could decrease, with claims severity falling and collision repairs costing less. The view was offered by Jason Bartanen, director of industry technical relations with I-CAR.

“As we start to see some of these advanced driver assistance systems, vehicles are still going to be involved in collisions, but I think the vehicles are going to be involved in lower speed collisions,” Bartanen said. I-CAR, an international non-profit organization on auto collision repair.

Bartanen says automatic braking becoming standard within five years in North America will decrese the speed and severity of collisions. “It’s going to slow the vehicle down enough that that a 40 mp/h collision maybe now is a 15 or 20 mp/h collision.”

Additionally, vehicle damage will also suffer less structural damage, “making more vehicles repairable.”

“Some of those slower-speed collisions will be avoided completely, and I’ve seen some of the data on some of the rear-end collisions,” Bartnanen said. “If a vehicle is equipped with the automatic braking, it’s less likely to rear-end another vehicle, because it is stopping.”

Autonomous vehicles are expected to transform the automotive industry and auto insurance markets in the next two decades. Early vehicles will be partly autonomous, while future cars will be fully autonomous.

  • SAE Level 0 – human does everything, like current cars
  • SAE Level 1 – some in-car systems can aid the human in the operation of the vehicle
  • SAE Level 2 – the autonomous tech can complete some driving tasks, but human monitoring is needed.
  • SAE Level 3 – the system conducts some driving and monitors some of the environment, but human must be ready as backup
  • SAE Level 4 – the system can conduct driving tasks without any input from humans. However, the system only works under some conditions. This is where the current market is.
  • SAE Level 5 is when the car can perform all tasks without the need for a human driver.

It is expected the driverless vehicles will reduce collisions, which are 95% attributed to human error. With this change, claims will fall and premium costs will decrease. Automakers are predicted to take liability and it is unclear how the car insurance industry will survive.