The introduction of truly driverless long haul freight vehicles has the potential to create a once-in-a-century economic impact—and a new role for insurers.

(Pleasanton, CA) May 1, 2017—In February, Embark, a startup based in San Mateo, CA, announced a self-driving technology that would allow trucks to run on highways with no human input. Unlike technology concepts recently announced by other manufacturers, Embark’s goal is not simply to assist drivers, but to enable completely unmanned trucks to travel on highways from entrance to exit, while continuing to rely on humans for city driving.1

“This is truly a game-changer,” said Michael Macauley, CEO of Quadrant Information Services, a leading supplier of pricing analytics ( services to property and casualty insurance carriers. “It very sensibly splits the activity of truck driving into two parts—maneuvering a load around city streets, and long haul driving on the freeway. City driving is complex and unpredictable, so Embark isn’t trying to automate that. However, the vast bulk of the time a big truck is in use is on the freeway. There, full automation can safely be used—with a staggering boost to productivity.”