Autonomous vehicles have long been an asset to sci-fi films and books, but it seems that every day we are a step closer to a world of driverless cars. Nevertheless, is autonomy the way forward for fleet companies?
What is Autonomy?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, autonomy is defined as ‘the ability to make your own decisions without being controlled by anyone else’. This means an autonomous vehicle is one that governs itself, without a driver.
Also known as a robot, self-driving or driverless car, an autonomous vehicle doesn’t need a human in the driver’s seat to guide itself. Although once considered a thing of futuristic sci-fi films, autonomous cars are becoming more and more popular and look to be heavily involved in the fleet industry in the future.
The Effect of Autonomy
Fleet News believe autonomy is the way forward for road safety in fleet companies. Studies found that 90% of road incidents are caused by human error, so taking away that element may lower the amount of accidents a year. Companies are starting to look at autonomous features of cars that could benefit those who require safety rules and regulations. One feature they’ve been looking into is autonomous emergency braking, which experts believe have the potential to save 1,100 lives and reduce casualties in the UK by more than 120,000 over the next decade.
For those who work in the fleet industry, AEB would be ideal. Less accidents, means an increase in safety for all drivers who work for a fleet business. It would also save companies a lot of money in terms of vehicle damage and repairs. Other autonomous features include line-keep assist, blind-spot intervention and collision avoidance, which are all useful to have as part of the vehicle for a fleet driver who needs to follow rules and regulations.
Industry Week believes it would be a mistake not to plan for the arrival of autonomous vehicles in the fleet industry, even if the world of driverless trucks and vans seems like a lifetime away. People should prepare for a future that involves autonomous vehicle features, as trials have already taken place.
The Bad Side
Like any new technology, autonomy in vehicles does has its downsides. Autonomous vehicles will complicate insurance policies and it will most likely be expensive to cover this kind of car. While there have been autonomous vehicles tested on the roads, they haven’t been fully researched or experimented on.
Although crashes are put down mostly to human error, it’s not always the driver’s fault. For example, an accident could occur because a pedestrian has walked out into the road unexpectedly or a cyclist hasn’t double checked behind before making a turn – these are all human errors too. Therefore, experts suggest that even though the car is autonomous and things are controlled internally, the external factors are not. The cyclist or pedestrian are not subjects of autonomy, so are just as likely to make the human error, but in front of a driverless vehicle instead.
Whether you’re a fan of autonomous vehicles or not, they will still be making an appearance on our roads in the near future. Now, it seems it’s best to take the most successful features of an autonomous car and combine them with a good driver to see the best results on the road.
Photo credit: fanjianhua