End times for personal vehicles – and automobile fraud?

If you’re just starting your career as an auto fraud investigator, you might consider broadening your portfolio of skills.

That’s sound advice if you believe the predictions of car guru Bob Lutz. The automobile will go the way of the horse and buggy in 15 years, 20 at the most, Lutz says In its place will be “standardized modules.” Here’s how he sees the future:

“The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway.

“On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn’t matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation.

“Then, as you approach your exit, your module will enter deceleration lanes, exit and go to your final destination. You will be billed for the transportation. You will enter your credit card number or your thumbprint or whatever it will be then. The module will take off and go to its collection point, ready for the next person to call.

“Most of these standardized modules will be purchased and owned by the Ubers and Lyfts and God knows what other companies that will enter the transportation business in the future.”

So … no human control means no staged crashes, no auto giveups and likely very few accidents because 99 percent are caused by human error.

Still, don’t count out the creativity, flexibility and skill of the fraudster community. Where there’s a will — and insurance dollars — they’ll find a way. Fortunately for us all, so will fraud investigators.

About the author: Dennis Jay is executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.