Autonomous driving and fleet
Autonomous driving technologies are developing fast. But, despite the buzz around the potential impact of self-driving options, aspects such as timing, uptake and penetration remain hard to predict.
The new technologies that make autonomous driving possible also bring with them possibilities for completely new mobility models and services. In addition, developments based on networks, sensors, mobile communication, real-time information, and new levels of connectivity are changing our view on mobility. It is expected that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will open up the way for on-demand driving solutions: a car when and where it is needed.
But, the big question that is begging for an answer is how and in what measure these disruptive technologies could impact fleet.
3 ways in which AVs will impact fleet
1. The impact on a tool-of-trade fleet will be twofold: both on the role of a driver as driver and on car usage. On the other hand, the impact on benefit cars will centre round usage and ownership of a car. And, of course, fleet management will be affected, as shifting ownership and operational models gradually require adjustments in management models also.
2. In the distant future, autonomous vehicles will do away with ‘wasted commute time’. Such future scenarios envision commuting in a self-driving car, spent doing activities to enhance life and work quality. Meetings can be prepared, orders can already be processed or the time can be used as relaxation time to improve work/life balance.
3. It is to be expected that autonomous cars could potentially modify the current vehicle mobility model and maximize vehicle utilization. AVs could service multiple drivers and, in some cases, eliminate the need for individually assigned company vehicles, thereby decreasing vehicle idle time. This could be an ideal solution for fleets with cars assigned to a single driver and parked for long periods during the day that could otherwise be used for other business activities. However, such changes would require a thorough policy review. Multiple users would require liability and responsibilities to be carefully defined. In addition, vehicle location and logistics would need to be monitored and made available real time to both users and a coordination centre. It is clear that AVs will require adjusted fleet services and policy. Companies will need to weigh the pros and cons of managing an AV fleet in-house or to outsource it.