Advantages of Sophisticated Driver Assistance Systems

According to a new study of insurance claims data from various BMW models, collision avoidance systems are preventing more crashes as technology advances. The impact of partially autonomous driving, on the other hand, is unclear.

The Highway Loss Data Institute reviewed insurance claims data from BMW automobiles for model years 2013-17 in its most recent study.

The study found that combining advances in front crash avoidance with the inclusion of adaptive cruise control resulted in significant decreases in the incidence of property damage and bodily injury liability claims.

The addition of lane centering as part of the company’s largely automated driving package, on the other hand, had minimal effect.

Robust Driver Assistance Systems

“The crash claim frequency reductions for BMW’s Driving Assistance package are the highest we’ve seen from advanced driver assistance systems,” says Matt Moore, senior vice president of HLDI. “This shows crash avoidance may be offering significant advantages as the technology develops.”

“The lane centering included in the ‘plus’ package does not appear to enhance these advantages.”

That could be because the technology is only designed for use on highways, which are considered to be safer than other routes, and it only operates when the driver activates it.”

HLDI analysts evaluated claims data from four distinct BMW crash prevention programs for this investigation. The first one incorporated forward collision warning and lane departure warning into one package.

These features, as well as front automatic emergency braking, were incorporated in a second model (AEB). Adaptive cruise control was introduced to the Driving Assistance package.

All of these capabilities are included in Driving Assistance Plus, as well as lane centering and front cross-traffic detection, taking it further along the automated driving continuum into Level 2 automation.

Level 2 is the highest level of automation currently possible in production cars, but it still requires active driver supervision.

Assertions of Liability

HLDI looked at the influence of each package on the rate of collision, property damage liability, and bodily injury liability claims per insured vehicle year for each package. Collision claims are for the repair of the insured driver’s car.

When the insured driver is found to be at fault, property damage responsibility claims are made for repairs to the other vehicle involved in the collision. Claims for bodily injury responsibility cover harm to others caused by the covered driver.

Under the three coverages, three of the four collision avoidance packages were linked to lower claim rates. Forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and AEB were linked to a 5% reduction in accident claims, an 11% reduction in property damage claims, and a 16 percent reduction in bodily injury claims.

The Set of Cruising Assistance

Collision, property damage, and bodily injury claim rates were all lowered by 6%, 27%, and 37%, respectively, with the Driving Assistance package, which featured improved versions of those technologies as well as adaptive cruise control.

The reduction in collision claim frequency was not statistically significant for this package.

The claim frequency reductions associated with the Driving Assistance Plus package, which added lane centering and front cross-traffic alert to the Driving Assistance package, were not statistically different from the claim frequency reductions reported with the Driving Assistance package.

“The important thing here is that both of the advanced systems were associated with large reductions in claim frequency and reductions in overall losses,” Moore says.

“But the specific impact of adding lane centering and a front cross-traffic alert isn’t clear.”

BMW’s Basic Package

BMW’s most basic package, which just includes forward collision warning and lane departure warning, was linked to a 2% rise in accident claims, a 5% increase in property damage claims, and an 11% increase in bodily injury claims.

None of these findings were statistically significant, and they were not consistent with HLDI’s research on similar systems from other manufacturers.

The findings are based on roughly 6 million insured vehicle years of total exposure, or sample size. The exposure ranged from roughly 550,000 insured vehicle years for forward collision warning with AEB to around 120,000 insured vehicle years for Driving Assistance Plus and around 30,000 for standard Driving Assistance and forward collision warning without AEB for the various packages.

Nissan — ProPILOT Assist

Because of the extensive coverage of Driving Assistance Plus, this research is by far the most comprehensive look at the impact of systems that combine speed control and lane centering on insurance losses. HLDI recently looked into a comparable Nissan technology called ProPILOT Assist, although that research was based on considerably smaller sample size.

According to claims data from the 2017-2018 Nissan Rogue, ProPILOT was linked to a 1% decrease in collision claim frequency and a 12% decrease in property damage liability claim frequency.

The results were not statistically significant since the ProPILOT exposure in the Rogue was slightly under 9,000 insured vehicle years.

“We still don’t know the incremental advantage associated with lane-centering technologies since the ProPILOT study was too small for us to be very confident in the numbers,” Moore says.

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