Road deaths will be almost eliminated by 2040, says report

Mobility will be cleaner, safer and more efficient than ever as fossil-fuel vehicles shift to vehicles with electric engines, advanced technology in autonomous cars transforms road safety, and vehicles will become more of a software platform according to a report from Allianz Partners The report predicts that by the year 2040, the number of road deaths in developed countries will be close to zero, while road traffic accidents will be significantly reduced. Autonomous vehicles will become the norm and smart streets and highways will transform the network infrastructure.

That's according to the new 'Mobility of the Future' report from Allianz Partners, which predicts that mobility across the world will become cleaner, safer and more efficient than ever over the next 20 years. 'Mobility of the Future' is launched as part of 'The World in 2040' futurology series. Authored by internationally renowned futurologist, Ray Hammond, it presents likely future developments and trends expected to transform the global mobility industry between now and 2040.

Allianz Partners commissioned the report to help them anticipate the mobility-focused needs of their customers over the coming decades. Allianz Partners is a world leader in B2B2C assistance and insurance solutions, delivering global protection and care, and offers dedicated mobility and insurance products and services to automotive manufacturers and mobility providers. Commenting on the report insights, Ray Hammond said: "There are four major trends which are shaping the future of mobility and driving governments to intervene now in order to abruptly change the future of road transport and, in turn, the future of cities.

These are: the rapid increase in urban air pollution; climate change; the falling cost of renewable energy generation; and the developments in vehicle battery technology." The road to zero strategy confirmed the Government's ambition to see at least half of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030 and just recently, it was announced that the 2040 target for banning the sale of all diesel, petrol and hybrid cars has been accelerated to 2035. The GBP1.5 billion investment in smart motorways, announced in 2015, has already seen major stretches built including over 100 miles of all lanes running (ALR) smart motorway sections on some of the UK's busiest routes. Government grants on the purchase of electric vehicles also make the offer of an ultra-low emission vehicle more tempting for UK motorists. 

Lee Taylor, Sales Director for Allianz Partners UK and Ireland, commented: "Climate change is a harsh reality of today's modern world and collectively, we cannot bury our head in the sand.  However, advancing technologies and electrification are providing us the means to make transportation safer and cleaner across the globe. By looking into the future, predicting and shaping mobility in the coming years, we are placed in a powerful position to take on the challenges and opportunities that are presented to us." The Allianz Partners report identifies key trends which will, collectively, revolutionize the mobility landscape by 2040:

Advances in technology and impact on safety

  • The best news is that there will be very few major traffic accidents and few severe injuries and deaths on the road.
  • 'Driver-assist' technology such as automatic braking, pedestrian sensing, forward collision warning, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection and driver alertness monitoring will help the general public learn about the developing phases of self-driving automation and demonstrate that autonomous vehicles will actually be far safer than cars driven by humans.
  • Long-distance and goods vehicles will be self-driving, allowing for manual control when a vehicle must make a rural journey to an area that lacks smart roads and network infrastructure.
  • Tech companies like Apple, Google and Uber may compete in the future of transport with current automotive manufacturers, as cars will be built around IT and software.

Changes in car ownership and mobility consumer behavior

  • Most city dwellers in developed countries will no longer own a private car but will become subscribers to mobility instead.
  • For short journeys, city dwellers will increasingly adapt to electric cycles and scooters supplied via sharing schemes.
  • Inside driverless vehicles, passengers will be able to use journey times to work, play, sleep, socialize (locally and remotely), indulge in virtual travel, or to educate themselves.

Changes in vehicle engines

  • Fossil fuel powered vehicles will shift to electric cars.
  • Driverless electric taxis will meet the public's transport needs, bringing passengers to their destination for a price equivalent to today's bus fares.

Need for security systems

  • It will be vital that strong cyber security systems must be built into the road traffic networks to prevent vehicles and roads being disrupted.
  • It's likely that in 2040, traffic police forces will largely be replaced by traffic cyber security forces who will focus on keeping our roads and all forms of automotive transport safe from malicious or criminal interference.

Claudius Leibfritz, CEO Allianz Automotive and Member of the Board of Management at Allianz Partners acknowledged that different developments in society, business and technology are driving a tremendous change in the mobility landscape. "This report highlights the impact that increased urbanization, environmental concerns, technology, changing patterns in car ownership and mobility consumer behavior will have long term on the automotive industry. "For insurers this means a paradigm shift - but an exciting one, leading to a future where mobility will be cleaner, safer and more efficient. At Allianz Automotive we actively support this evolution by offering new products and service solutions for the emerging mobility ecosystem to meet changing customer needs.

Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric (CASE) is the new normal for the industry, and we are continuously developing solutions in close collaboration with our automotive manufacturers and mobility provider partners." "While drivers are becoming subscribers to mobility rather than owners of cars, Allianz Automotive is not only offering traditional products but we also extend our portfolio to innovative and more service- and convenience-oriented solutions for our customers. We are already intensively working on relevant new developments, such as the increasing demand for services for fleets.

The rise of intermodal mobility requires smooth and seamless mobility services for the individual instead of just the protection of property and assets. And we see a change in liability as manufacturers' liability gains in importance. Also, while the increasingly sophisticated technology of autonomous vehicles will on the one side decrease the frequency and severity of accidents, on the other side cyber security and cyber insurance will become more important than ever.

The insights from this report are invaluable in terms of highlighting our customers' potential future needs, to allow us to strategically continue to plan for the future of our business."

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