If cars could talk, insurance claims may sink

If cars could talk, insurance claims may sink

When it comes to motoring prowess, Italians are arguably masters of the road. Adding to the nation’s gamut of auto achievements, which include Ducati, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, is an intelligent new software application that may change the way we drive.

The new app, developed at the University of Bologna, proposes to reduce the occurrence of traffic accidents by allowing cars to ‘communicate’ a message about changes in traffic conditions in a split second. If an accident occurs further along the road, the car receives a tip off via the software of another car up ahead.

Professors at the northern Italian university used simulation testing to determine that the software could potentially reduce highway pile-ups by around 40 percent, which in turn could slash car insurance claims drastically.

How it works

The software operates using an on-board sensor, which recognises movements and vehicle speed changes unique to a crash and then relays the information immediately to nearby cars, which filter the information on to other vehicles.

Marco Roccetti, professor of internet architecture at the University of Bologna, says: “basically, what we are doing is placing cars in peer-to-peer communication”.

The technology has grabbed the attention of developers at Toyota as well as professors at the University of California, which will road test the new app on the super highways of Los Angeles in coming months.

The technology behind the app is said to be mature and ready to roll out almost immediately if given the green light in testing. So the possibility of having millions of cars ‘online’ may be reality in the near future.

How you’ll save money

While the app is still in its infancy and may not hit Australian roads for some time, there are several ways to trim your car insurance premiums significantly in the meantime. These include:

• Restricting drivers by age

• Increasing your excess

• Installing an alarm or immobiliser to reduce risk of theft

• Garaging your car at night

• Comparing car insurance policies online to find the cheapest option on the features you need

In the market for a new car? Check out Australia's Best Value Cars.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!