How one insurer is prepping for a world of driverless cars

By | November 26, 2018

Smartdriverclub is preparing for a future of autonomous vehicles by developing tracking technology. But will everyone be happy to hand over this personal data?

“There’s an image of a street in America from about 1898 and everyone is in horse-drawn carriages,” says Penny Searles, the chief executive of Smartdriverclub. “The same photograph was taken just 10 years later in 1908, and everyone had the new Ford Model T car instead. The insurers who had figured out how to insure cars ahead of that change led the market for the following 60 or 70 years.”

It was this lesson Searles had in mind when she started the Portsmouth-based business three years ago. Her aim is to build a company accustomed to insuring vehicles with sophisticated reporting functions and inbuilt tracking, which would put it in a strong position when driverless cars become widely available.

Related: The Guardian view on big data and insurance: knowing too much | Editorial

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