Intact Financial invests in autonomous driving start-up Voyage

Published: August 27, 2018

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Intact Financial has announced a partnership with a self-driving car start-up company based in the United States. Canada’s largest P&C insurer has invested $3 million in Voyage, a company that runs an automated taxi service in retirement communities in Florida and San Diego.

Voyage specifically operated in The Villages, large retirement communities with a population of 125,000. The company uses autonomous technology such as 3D mapping, sensors, and notifications to help cars navigate closed roads that are private. Using the system, vehicles are able to identify other vehicles, pedestrians, and road objects.

Customers use Voyage as a ride-hailing services like Uber. Intact’s collaboration with the company will see the insurance giant use data collected from Voyage’s autonomous vehicles for its machine learning alogirthms. Intact will be able to use the data to create risk profiles. Considering placing liability is one of the major concerns about self-driving cars, the information will prove valuable to Intact.

“We do know that there’s going to be more and more vehicles with automated features on the roads in the next few years, all the way to the evolution of Level 5 vehicles,” said Karim Hirji, senior vice president of Intact Ventures, the strategic venture arm of Intact. “When we’re taking a look at the future of insurance and how to best protect consumers, we wanted to make sure that we could find a partner in the AV space that was equally committed to focusing on safety and trying to determine how the insurance product should also evolve alongside these automated features in cars coming on the roads.”

Intact says it was impressed by Voyage’s commitment to creating a rich system that was safe for customers.

“This was an opportunity in the near term to actually gets cars on the road and start learning from the data right away, as opposed to something theoretical that could be on the road in four or five years,” explained Hirji.

“We’ve been very much focused on areas that potentially could disrupt the insurance industry in the future, learning from those companies and also offering our advice and expertise to those companies,” said Hirji.