Chinese tech heavyweight Baidu and insurance giant Swiss Re are partnering on new insurance products and risk management research for Baidu’s autonomous driving business, the companies announced in November.
The initial focus of this partnership is the launch of insurance for the self-driving valet parking service from Baidu’s autonomous driving project Apollo. In the future, Swiss Re and Baidu aim to partner on risk managemnt research and new insurance products for autonomous driving computing platforms, intelligent cockpits, robotaxis and other automated driving products.
“Together with our partner Baidu, we analyze how automated cars perceive their surroundings and how they process that information and respond to it,” Andrea Keller, head of automotive and mobility solutions at Swiss Re, said in a statement. “Our goal is to understand how such vehicles behave differently than human-driven ones and quantify these differences. Ultimately, we aim to bring motor insurance products to the next level of innovation.”
Baidu started developing autonomous vehicles in 2013. Since then, the company noted Apollo has driven more than 10 million miles in testing worldwide. The Baidu Apollo Go robotaxi service, now operational in Beijing, Shanghia and three other cities in China, has given 115,000 rides, making Baidu the world leader in the number of autonomous car service rides provided to date, and the company plans to bring Apollo Go into 65 cities across China by 2025 and 100 cities by 2030.
Autonomous driving poses a variety of new challenges for the insurance industry, such as rapid technology upgrades, increasingly diversified risks and limitations when it comes to available data. The new partnership between Swiss Re and Baiu aims to develop insurance products covering the entire value chain of autonomous driving, including the selection of risk factors, product pricing, claims and underwriting data standards.
“Our partnership with Baidu is a milestone in Swiss Re’s efforts to access new risk pools and close the protection gap through Swiss Re’s risk management expertise and innovation capabilities,” Russell Higginbotham, CEO of Reinsurance Asia and Regional President Asia at Swiss Re, said in a statement. “By combining our respective risk knowledge and insights, we hope to jointly explore and develop innovative products and solutions, catalyse the transformation of the autonomous driving value chain and further advance the mobility ecosystem.”
This deal is the latest example of a partnership between the insurance and autonomous vehicle industries. For example, in June, Ford and State Farm Insurance completed a project that found advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can reduce insurance premiums.