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Saturday, Apr 19, 2014
Business News

Driverless cars could change everything from insurance to mass transit

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TAMPA — Princeton University professor Alain Kornhauser launched the first day of the two-day 2013 Florida Automated Vehicles Summit on Thursday with visions for driverless cars ranging from enhanced safety performance that could trim car insurance rates to a transformation of mass transit using small, shared vehicles.

The first session drew 210 attendees to the Marriott Waterside, including elected officials and transportation industry officials eager to exchange information and spread the word on how a new level of vehicular mobility could affect transportation planning in Florida.

The Florida Department of Transportation has said it wants to be prepared for autonomous vehicle innovation, and is one of three states with laws permitting autonomous vehicle testing on its highways.

Kornhauser used the example of Google’s driverless car, which uses a combination of road mapping and sensors, along with artificial intelligence software that is responsive to avoiding highway conflicts and crashes and therefore safer than a vehicle under control of a driver.

A Google car is estimated to reduce accidents ranging from those causing injuries to those involving fatalities from 65 percent to 81 percent respectively, Kornhauser said.

“Those numbers are huge, not trivial,” he said, adding that insurers could trim expenses to various sources from body shops to hospitals and pass savings to consumers.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

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