The sleek, futuristic, driver-less Batmobile is no longer a thing of science fiction.
In 2015, the Audi A7 drove 550 miles by itself; in 2016, Olli, the autonomous minibus, was released on the streets of Washington DC and a few selected Pittsburg Uber users got to test their self-driving on Ford Fusion. Thirty-three groups of auto brands and tech giants are involved in this industry, with Google, Apple, and Tesla looking to deploy fully driverless level 5 (L5) autonomous vehicles well within the next decade.
It’s a key moment in the history of automobiles. Fleet vehicles, in particular, could benefit from these technological advancements. Here’s how fleets could use autonomous vehicles (AV) to maximum potential.
AVs allow the “driver” to do other tasks while commuting. Some studies predict this wasted commute time could be reduced by as much as 90% as drivers use this time to do productive work they would otherwise be doing in the office.
Recording travel logs won’t be necessary anymore. AVs will provide better telematics than humans who are prone to misrepresent – often unintentionally – their logs. Fleet managers will be able to track vehicle performance, location, and delivery time accurately.
A shared AV model would be a good fit for those fleets whose vehicles spend a significant part of the work day sitting idle. A good fleet-based routing system could allow a single self-driving vehicle to serve multiple nearby drivers, thus improving vehicle utilization. Imagine a cargo van that delivered drivers to job sites and ran to a supply warehouse to pick up supplies while the employees began work on the project. The AV picked up supplies for both staff members and delivered to each job site. The employees receive a text when the AV arrived back at the job site.
On average, 20% of the fleet vehicles are involved in accidents each year, and industry experts estimate that human error causes 90% of them. AV technology focuses on avoiding accidents and on vehicle safety. This should result in significant cost savings to fleets.
By 2035 it’s expected that AVs will generate an 80% decrease in crashes, saving fleet companies about $5.6 trillion on a global level in repairs and maintenance.
Reduced Fleet Size
While self-driving cars are said to cut costs with maintenance and fuel, there’s still uncertainty concerning the depreciation rate and the impact on residual value. Currently, AVs are more expensive than traditional company vehicles, making ownership unattractive. There is a new way of thinking. Some organizations will reduce their fleets and switch to a Uber-style reservation system to summon an AV from a shared vehicle pool on an hourly basis.
Increased Customer Engagement
Airports have robots and self-service bag drops that engage with passengers, making their travel experience seamless. AVs will have all that and more as they come equipped with interconnected smart devices which will enable communication with the passengers.
Think of the world where there are driverless vehicles. Vehicles could be sent for errands like picking up parts while the technician continues his task, or take the elderly to their appointments, or bringing customers to and from a shopping center.
AVs come with lots of perks for fleets and can achieve great competitive advantages. Are you ready to invest in AV for your fleet in the future?