The Effect of Driverless Cars on AGRR
November 16, 2012

by Casey Neeley,

Experts in the auto glass repair and replacement (AGRR) industry have offered a variety of reactions to developing driverless car technologies, most recently highlighted in Fortune Magazine.

The technology, which reportedly allows for safer travel in an autonomously driving vehicle, has been shown through tests of Google's self-driving models to drive more than 300,000 miles without incident.

Members of the AGRR industry are currently evaluating the pending use of such technology.

"State Farm is monitoring the development of driverless cars and the potential impact they may have," says Amy Preddy, State Farm media specialist. "While it is too soon to give an opinion or endorsement of these vehicles, we are watching the advancements with great interest, especially due to the potential it has on making cars and roadways safer for all drivers. Safety is always our number one priority."

While highway safety is of the utmost importance, there is still concern over the implications this technology holds for auto glass shops.

"There has, however, been little thought about how autonomous vehicles might impact business and alter industries ranging from car makers to auto insurers to transport companies to steel fabricators, and in the process leave a trail of winners and losers," says Brian Dumaine, senior editor-at-large for CNN Money in the Fortune report.

Until driverless cars hit the road on a national level, their effects on the industry will not be fully known.

"No one knows at this point if driverless cars will be more or less dangerous than cars operated by humans," says Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the Insurance Information Institute. "Some predict that driverless cars could potentially reduce accident rates by eliminating human failings, such as drunk driving. Others say, however, that driverless cars could potentially be very dangerous when they share the road with cars driven by humans."

Other industry members were able to offer a more positive outlook on the continued success of the AGRR industry despite the new technology.

"What I have seen about driverless cars is that most of the sensors and detectors—distance and peripheral monitors, sensors imbedded in the roadway, etc.—are not related to the glass, so the impact to the AGRR industry would relate only to the decrease of minor accidents that might cause damage," says Glen Moses, Safelite's director of technical quality programs. "However, the majority of damage we address is not related to multi-car accidents. Glass will still be broken by rocks thrown off tires on the road, lawn mowers throwing stones, kids hitting baseballs, vandals breaking into cars and so on. Because of that, we don't foresee driverless cars having a major effect on our business."

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