What's Happening?

The evolution of cars and automotive glass



The automotive industry is experiencing a massive amount of change. Many believe that driverless cars are inevitable in our automotive future, although the technology looks to be quite far off. The driving force for this technology is propelled by projections of safer travel with less road deaths and injuries; most vehicles are now being manufactured with ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance Systems), installed in the vehicle.

Insurers are observing within interest at how the new technologies could potentially reduce premiums when safety benefits are proven. To date, the focus of telematics solutions has been on improving the risk profile of drivers, particularly the young and inexperienced.

Windscreen technology is showing real promise in the area of night vision. That would revolutionise the industry, and it’s something people would be willing to pay an incremental cost for in order to gain that capability.

Currently in South Africa with the new technology there are certain cars that know where they are going and how to get there. Technology packages for some vehicles come with heads up display that can project the following driving-related information in the vehicle: 

  • Road speed
  • Speed limits
  • Overtaking restrictions
  • Check control messages
  • Vehicle status
  • Warning messages
  • Navigational turn-by-turn directions
  • Telephone and call information
  • Lane guiding

Safety technologies are constantly evolving. There are several studies that found various safety technologies including forward collision avoidance, adaptive headlights and park distance control could lead to a 30% decline in claim frequency. Further research also showed a 44% drop in insurance claim frequency in cars fitted with collision avoidance systems. 

Applications that use smart phone technology to record a motorist’s driving style – covering their acceleration, braking and cornering – to calculate personalised discounts, are also making their mark on the evolution of the automotive market. Some insurers even go so far as to incentivise good driving with cash-back; another reason for drivers to adhere to the rules of the road and practise safe driving.

However, telematics are about to get even more exciting as insurers look to capture more data, not only to inform decisions on insurance premiums, but also to target individual drivers with additional services and encourage customer loyalty. Breakdown assistance has long been an additional feature offered by insurers, but more sophisticated telematics systems will be able to offer immediate intervention on claims, or show on nearby petrol stations or favourite coffee shops. Even more importantly, insurers are notified when there has been an accident and can send emergency vehicle to aid drivers based on locational information – this introduces the safety element of telematics.

Many insurers are already upgrading their legacy IT systems to be able to support more real time digital interactions with customers on devices like smartphones and tablets, to offer a streamlined, user-friendly and connected experience. In years to come the infrastructure will exist to gather and analyse real-time data from integrated smart windscreens acting as the digital hub of the vehicle.

One of the main concerns for insurers is the extent to which such technologies might be a distraction to drivers. When it comes to technology in a car there are multiple points of distractions, from mobile phones to satellite navigation. So, the key for future innovation will be rooted in the ability of car glass technologies to keep the driver’s eyes on the road.

From insurance to automotive glass, the evolution of cars means a revolution for the automotive industry. PG Glass remains committed to saving consumers money by repairing before replacing windscreens. This has resulted in the company saving the insurance industry over R100 million in three years.