Waymo has partnered with on-demand insurance technology startup Trov to offer insurance coverage to riders in the Alphabet-owned company's future self-driving cars. The coverage will be offered at no extra cost for passengers as part of a commercial ride-hailing service the firm plans to launch next year in Phoenix, Arizona, where its rival Uber has also been testing self-driving cars with real passengers. However, there's no official word yet from Waymo when it would roll out the service in other locations. Since October, Waymo began testing fully autonomous cars on public roads in some areas of Arizona with no human driver as a sort of a safety fallback for passengers, Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik previously revealed. That makes Waymo the first autonomous vehicle developer to operate a driverless car on the road with no extra security measures, though it's not the first company to test self-driving cars on public highways.
As part of the partnership, the insurance broker will provide trip-based insurance to passengers inside the self-driving cars from Waymo once its autonomous service debuts in 2018. An affiliate of Munich Re, a German reinsurance company, will serve as the underwriter for the coverage. Trov recently revealed that it gained $56 million in funding from a Series D financing round led by Munich Re and HSB Ventures last April, with the company's total funding now reaching more than $97 million. It's worth noting that the insurance coverage represents Trov's first foray into what it refers to as the "shared mobility" segment. The coverage includes passenger protections against lost property, trip disruption, and medical costs. Just like any other insurance coverage, this one will be applicable to the entire duration of individual trips.
Scott Walchek, CEO and founder of Trov, said the company's software engineers developed what he calls a "software-triggered" insurance based on its "human-triggered" model in an effort to customize the coverage for passengers riding in an autonomous car. Krafcik also said in October that Waymo's self-driving vehicles were inching toward commercialization, noting that the major challenges in front of this technology space such as regulatory scrutiny and slow adoption rates will be addressed in the near future.