Autonomous Cars, Collisions and Auto Body Shops

Autonomous cars technology continues to move forward.  With various players including Google, Apple and Uber continually testing the technology to refine it and the number of “connected cars” on the road is expected to top 250 million by 2020.  Connected cars are cars that are equipped with internet access and usually also with a wireless local network.   

 Autonomous Car Technology

Because autonomous cars technology continues to move forward, it’s going to disrupt more than just the transportation industry as most people see it.  We take for granted that taxi services, bus transportation, truck drivers and anyone who currently drives to transport people or cargo will eventually lose their jobs to autonomous cars.  However, the auto body and insurance industries will also be majorly affected.

auto stiegler team photo
autonomous car checking for obstructions to avoid collision.

As driverless cars transform the way we drive and commute, this will impact the amount and type of insurance we will buy.  This change will be dramatic to insurance companies and it’s expected that new players will enter the insurance arena because of it.  Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS), start-ups and large technology firms are expected to enter the market due to the shift.

Because there are 5 levels of autonomous cars, when level 5 is reached—which is full automation where the car requires no human intervention—collisions are expected to decrease dramatically.  In fact, in a study conducted by the consulting firm KMPG on autonomous cars, they predicted that by 2040, there will be an 80% reduction in accidents per vehicle compared today.

Currently, there are many vehicles on the road that have at least some automation.  Ford expects to introduce a fully driverless vehicle by 2021.  This vehicle won’t have a steering wheel or even pedals for braking and acceleration.

However, it should be noted that although the collision rate will go down dramatically, the expected repair rate of a typical vehicle will at least double by 2040 due to a number of factors. 

Regarding body shops, these are some of the expected changes that will happen:

– Less collision repairs in general.  Because of the technology will be such that cars will be largely free from human error, there will be less collisions.

– Less high-ticket cars coming into shops. Because it’s projected that customers of high-end luxury cars will make up a large portion of early adopters of driverless cars, shops will see less of these coming for repairs.

– Repairs will require a higher and different level of skill.  Because the technology is different than traditional cars, different procedures, equipment and technology will be needed for the repairs.

It’s expected that OEMS will enter the collision repair industry.  It makes sense that because OEMS will be so vested in driverless car technology, they’ll not only enter the insurance sector but also the car repair industry as well.

– Savvy shops will shift from “necessity” to luxury services. Those shops with strong marketing strategies will have an upper hand in the market showcasing these services.

Although fully autonomous cars are still in the future, in the meantime we here at Orlando Auto Body are prepared to restore your car to its pre-accident condition in the unfortunate event you have a collision. Call us today at (480) 844-4858.