There is little doubt that the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles will have a huge impact on the automobile insurance industry. Research and computer modeling conducted by Accenture in collaboration with the Stevens Institute of Technology indicates that as many as 23 million fully autonomous vehicles will be traveling U.S. highways by 2035 (out of about 250 million total cars and trucks registered in the U.S.)
This rapid growth of autonomous vehicles will involve a major shift, not only in our driving habits and patterns, but in the ownership of vehicles. We believe that most fully autonomous vehicles will not be owned by individuals, but by auto manufacturers such as General Motors, by technology companies such as Google and Apple, and by other service providers such as ride-sharing services. Unlike individual car owners – whose vehicles typically sit idle most of the time — fleet owners can send autonomous vehicles out on multiple trips on a 24-hour basis, amortizing the cost of , amortizing the cost of ownership.
Automakers have already begun to experiment with fleet-based ownership of autonomous vehicles, with GM announcing an autonomous vehicle partnership with Lyft, Uber announcing a similar partnership with Volvo, and many others exploring similar avenues.