How might driverless vehicles change the way we do business?
What are driverless cars?
A driverless car, in theory, is a vehicle that is capable of being operated without any human contact. The vehicle can sense the environment, and even be navigated throughout the roads and locations. As it stands, driverless vehicles are still not permitted on public highways, without the presence of a human who can take over at a moment's notice, should anything happen. But more manufacturers are developing this exciting technology.
The history of driverless cars, where did it all begin?
Would you be surprised to read that there have been tests on automated and driverless cars since the 1920’s? But it is true, it is something that has been on many manufacturers minds for decades now, as it seems to be the future. However, the first fully fledged driverless car was introduced in 1984 and then a few years later by the prestigious brand Mercedes-Benz. Since the late eighties, many other manufacturers have brought out their own custom designed vehicles such as General Motors, Renault, and Toyota, to name a few. All manufacturers have put their technology to the test in normal weather conditions and on normal roads. But Ford is taking it one step forward by testing out their technology in snow conditions and tougher terrain. Making it very apparent that this can be firmly part of a motoring future.
Have driverless cars graced our streets?
You’d be surprised to hear that the likes of Uber are already trying this out on a fleet of cars in America. Of course, a driver still needs to be present in the car. But they have been focused on the urban area of Pennsylvania and giving this technology a try.
Benefits to having driverless cars on the road
There are some major benefits to having driverless cars on the road. Many manufacturers predict that they will be available by the year 2020. They will be mostly dominated in the urban areas, cities where more accidents happen. This could revolutionise the statistics when it comes to accidents created on the road as the technology will be able to navigate and avoid such things happening. There should also be a drop in CO2 emissions due to driverless cars using electric as the energy source for them to be running. This could also reduce tax implications for personal use and also companies wanting to add driverless cars to their fleets.
What is the vision?
It seems that the vision for driverless cars is to transform lives. Once they have become populated beyond the main urban areas, people can use their cars for all sorts of things rather than just a daily commute to work. It could be used for eating, working, sleeping even. There is a huge possibility that congestion on the roads will diminish, and the need for huge parking spaces in the city center will no longer be needed. This could then free up more space for other things such as housing or even open areas. Of course, this is all future goals. But there are also benefits to businesses.
What could driverless cars mean for businesses moving forward?
Driverless vehicles could mean businesses can save on their costs of running a fleet. One of the main savings could be a driver salary, as at some stage you will no longer need to pay someone to do deliveries for you. It could mean that the cars themselves could be utilised as “on the road” offices. Meaning downtime used to drive from one place to another could be used in a much more productive way.
However, it could also bring issues to the world as we know it. Millions of people are employed in some way to do with automotive industry. From repairing and servicing vehicles in dealerships to the manufacture of them in factories all over the world. This technology could mean that those jobs are replaced by machines and robots.
It’s difficult to predict, but it certainly means there are some exciting times ahead when it comes to new technology, and it certainly could enhance vehicle fleets all over.
What do driverless vehicles mean for the vehicle tracking industry?
For companies like RAM Tracking that work with telematics data, driverless vehicles provide a great opportunity to raise the profile of vehicle tracking. Without human drivers at the wheel, businesses will need to monitor and analyse data to ensure that the vehicles and their software are making the right decisions on routes, speed and even driving behaviour.
There’s already been a number of early accidents from the likes of Uber driverless vehicles, so vehicle tracking devices are crucial for providing evidence of exactly what happened, when and where. Inclusion of dashcams as part of vehicle tracking can also help provide eye-witness recordings of outside and inside the driverless vehicle, which may prove invaluable for insurance companies and the courts.