A startup focused on rewarding drivers and fleet owners that use autonomous vehicles and semi-autonomous car safety features has raised $5 million in seed funding.
California-based Avinew’s technology uses artificial intelligence and telematics to gather driving data that can tell when a vehicle is in autopilot mode or is using advanced safety features. That data can then be used by insurers to offer coverage that rewards drivers and fleets using these vehicles and features.
Avinew is a technology company that is now working with insurers but someday hopes to be an insurer itself, a spokesperson said.
To date, Tesla, Mercedes, Ford, GM, Nissan, Audi and Volvo vehicles will be eligible, the California startup said.
Crosscut led the financing round. American Family’s venture arm, American Family Ventures, also participated, along with Draper Frontier and RPM Ventures.
“The cars we drive are changing, and there’s a huge opportunity for auto insurance to change as technology helps our cars and roads become safer,” Avinew founder and CEO Dan Peate said in prepared remarks. “Our goal is to enable the safety, savings and freedom that come with autonomous driving.”
Peate explained that his company sees its technology as enabling insurance coverage that encourages consumers to use features like Autopilot, Super Cruise, Co-Pilot 360 and ProPILOT Assist. By doing so, this “will make the roads safer for all of us,” he said.
According to a 2017 report from Accenture and Stevens Institute of Technology, insurance coverage related to autonomous vehicles will bring $81 billion in new premiums to the U.S. auto insurance industry by 2025. The market will include coverage for risks related to cybersecurity, software and hardware and by the need for additional public infrastructure coverage, according to the report.
Avinew plans to launch its autonomous usage-based insurance programs later this year in select states. The company said it has so far finished proof-of-concept pilot programs with two insurers.
In a related move, Avinew announced that Jeremy Snyder, a 10-year Tesla veteran who served as its head of Global Business Development and Special Projects, will become Avinew’s chief operating officer.
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