Ever wondered why a van or car loses its insurance cover when certain specifications are modified or why they become street illegal? While majority of such situations apply to physical modifications, the same can apply to software upgrades, changes in technology or experimental tech.
All the vehicles that we test currently are modified to a certain extent physically to accommodate equipment for our experiments but also happen to have severe software modifications too. In such an event when testing them out on public roads, a conventional vehicle insurance does not count. For instance, take the trucks that we are trying our lane splitting and early warning devices on. These hgv vehicles have insurance but not the commercial kind you find with conventional underwriters. For our purposes we had to go for an all-inclusive company cover that takes care of our experiments too. Unfortunately, until a unit reaches the prototyping stage, we cannot take any cover on it and it is for this reason we stick to conventional vehicle insurance that just protects the stock version which came from a manufacturer. Once we add new specifications to it though, test it and provide proof of concept it becomes intellectual property and naturally IP covers apply to the same. However, this does not mean that the base manufacturer warranty or other such warranties lapse. Those still exist and are not affected by most of the changes we do, since almost evey change we make is reversible. It has to be to ensure that our technology can transcend design, models and manufacturers too.
As for specific designs or concepts that have yet to be tested in vehicles, plus our employees and such – we go for a full cover and it protects any innovations that have yet to reach our fleet of test vehicles.
From what we have observed, insurance in the future will definitely change as technology progresses. With more information relating to a vehicle stored on chips and cloud networks, available instantly at the tap of a button – insurance claims will become smoother easier and overall all-inclusive.