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The Johnny Cabs are Coming! The Johnny Cabs are Coming!

August 23, 2012

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner – Founders Insurance Group

In the 1990’s science fiction thriller, “Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, audiences were introduced to one version of the future. Set in the year 2084, in one of the movie’s memorable scenes, Schwarzenegger’s character, Douglas Quaid, takes a ride in the taxi cab of the future, known as a “Johnny Cab.” If you happened to be in the theater next door watching Dances with Wolves or GoodFellas, and didn’t get to see a Johnny Cab, it simply was a cab that was operated by a computer, using a talking manikin as its driver.

For nearly as long as there have been automobiles there have been those that have dreamed of a car that drives itself. Now, long before 2084, the vision of a self-driving car may become a reality much faster than we think.

Several days ago, on MSN, writer Douglas Newcomb penned a very interesting story on the subject and it is far from science fiction. In Newcomb’s article, “Self Driving Cars Could Be Sooner Than We Imagined,” Newcomb points out that one Detroit automaker is already rapidly moving ahead with self-driving technology. Internet giant Google is playing a big role in this exciting technology too. The New York Times reported that Google sent seven test cars a total of 1,000 miles without a human being ever touching the controls!

The fact is that when auto makers and technology giants like Google are taking a serious look at autonomous cars, it may mean that the question has changed from “what if” to “when.” Driver assist technologies already exist and more are on the way.

Beyond the obvious questions about safety, there will also be questions about consumer privacy and legal liability. The autonomous car is a game changer. Think of the way that cell phones completely changed the way Americans communicate, autonomous cars could be the biggest game changer in transportation in more than seventy five years.

Insurance providers will be forced to re-think risk evaluation. Think about it, if a crash does occur, who will be at fault? It could be argued that the car company would be at fault or the local community that runs the traffic patterns and….well, you get the idea. In this new world, it would seem that auto insurance premiums would likely shrink as the liability risk shrinks.

The possibilities are endless. To heck with the worry over the danger of texting and driving, we could be having our coffee and watching the morning news while on the way to work! There is little doubt that over the next decade America’s love affair with the automobile will be undergoing some very interesting changes. The insurance industry will need to be well prepared.

In the meantime, with just a few remaining days of summer left, it’s time to put the top down, open the sun roof or just roll down the windows, and turn up the Beach Boys and have a great day!

Chris Garlasco.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marsha Kirkwood permalink
    August 23, 2012 12:12 pm

    Hello. My business email address has changed from to What do I need to do?

    Please advise.

    • August 24, 2012 1:09 pm

      Hi Marsha,
      Just unsubscribe under the old name and resubscribe under the new! Thanks for following us

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