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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The insurance industry is learning how to incorporate artificial intelligence in various scenarios to determine liability and calculate risk, including AVs, where the responsibility for malfunctions and accidents could fall on safety drivers, on the vehicle manufacturer, or on software and hardware providers.

Why it matters: Insuring AVs is an unprecedented insurance challenge, as they will generate huge volumes of data from a variety of parts and will be comprised of complex systems that share responsibility in interlocking ways.

What's needed: Regardless of what’s behind a claim, insurance relies on past data for predictive analytics.

  • Because AVs do not have decades of safety records, insurers will need programs that can extrapolate as much insight as possible from a small number of initial incidents.
  • Once initial datasets are established, insurers will still need AI that can sift through all of a vehicle's relevant data from each incident reported to assign responsibility.

What's happening: AI is already used in catastrophic storm insurance, another insurance challenge that involves unprecedented events, and sifting through massive amounts of data. AI-based systems might work for AVs in multiple ways:

  • Insurers could deploy advanced computing from the moment a customer files a claim to begin sorting through vehicle data from the incident in question.
  • AI could prioritize and investigate the most important questions at a given point in time, and combine reported claims with weather reports and data from on-the-ground sensors to get the full context of an incident.
  • Using AI throughout the claims review process could help risk managers spot patterns and anticipate other reports that may follow, whether that's because of a major weather or traffic event or because of a faulty component within an AV's tech stack.

The bottom line: Insuring AVs will rely on numerous AI-based tools for data analysis: for building out a preliminary database, for analyzing individual incidents, and for identifying patterns in order to improve safety going forward.

Haywood Marsh is general manager of NetClaim, an insurance software subsidiary of NAVEX Global.

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - World

U.S. threatens to cut aid to Sudan after military takeover

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

The latest: The head of the military faction of the Sudanese government, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, said in a statement that he is announcing a state of emergency, suspending several parts of the interim constitution and dissolving the civilian government and interim sovereignty council — the highest governing body in the country.

Facebook's pivotal week

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

They're battening down the hatches at Facebook headquarters this week as the company faces a trifecta of tumult: a continuing wave of negative press coverage fueled by document leaks, a critical earnings report Monday and a reported name change looming.

The big picture: All this is unfolding as Mark Zuckerberg tries to transform Facebook from a social network into the prime mover behind a new "metaverse" of VR- and AR-driven remote work and play.

3D-printed houses seem poised to go mainstream

A rendering of a planned 3D-printed, net-zero-energy community in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Photo: Mighty Buildings

3D-printed cement houses are about to take off, offering a cheaper, more efficient way to provide homes for those who need them — as long as they can be built in ways that don't worsen climate change.

Why it matters: Developers of 3D-printed homes think they can take on multiple challenges: the affordable housing crisis, the shortage of skilled labor and rising material costs.