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Planning the Path for a Fleet of Autonomous Vehicles

  • November 10, 2020
  • Truck ,
driverless trucks

A commercial truck on the road.

Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are revolutionizing the entire transportation industry as we know it. They have implications for private car services, taxi services, home delivery services, as well as the public transport system on the whole, and we can’t help but take notice of the way they are altering the course of fleet management.

These vehicles drive cautiously, carefully, and deliberately, making the ride a stellar experience for the customers and cargo alike. But what does this autonomous drive technology mean for fleet owners and managers?

Undoubtedly, they’ll no longer have to worry about driver shortage or compensation. Additionally, hours of service rules also won’t be an issue with self-driving vehicles. And by Roland Berger estimates, that would mean clear-cut cost savings of up to 40%.

There are some exciting opportunities ahead for fleets that embrace this new tech early on. Let’s look at how businesses in this niche can plan and execute a safe pathway towards autonomous fleet management.

Acquisition Of Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles use artificial intelligence to allow for flexibility and safety regarding human errors. These types of software can also allow AVs to navigate the most complex traffic situations.

However, these capabilities and equipment come at a cost, making AVs prices much higher than those of traditional vehicles. Research shows that the additional cost of a self-driving vehicle could be up to $100,000 – and that’s on top of the car’s [truck’s?] original price!

Manufacturers will have to invest in practical solutions to maximize usability, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness if they want these vehicles to become a mainstay for large fleets.

Reduction In Operating Costs

Keeping in mind the acquisition costs, fleet owners will have no choice but to find ways to continue to minimize other operational costs like fuel.

The most significant cost savings afforded by autonomous vehicles is that of driver costs. However, some human intervention is still required in the early adoption period as humans operate in a co-pilot role to facilitate a smooth, safe drive.

Additionally, upgrading vehicles to sustainable components (like retreaded commercial tires) could maximize the return on your investment.

According to tire makers, choosing the right type of commercial tires, matched to the driving patterns of AVs, which are crucial to having the safest and most efficient fleets.

Manufacturers should partner with a good commercial tire service having a proven tire management program to ensure preventive measures are intact, such as “cradle-to-grave” tracking.

Increase In Human-Supervised Tasks

Even though AI might take command over autonomous vehicles, human operators will still needed to service them.

Vehicle maintenance, supervision of tech deployed in autonomous systems, and installing external equipment like commercial tires are all areas of the transport industry that will still require human oversight and expertise.

Put Safety First

Reducing the risk of accidents can protect your business against catastrophic road injuries and costly insurance claims. Of course, driver assistance technologies in leading vehicles already help save lives, fuel and tire tread, but autonomous vehicles can do even more to prevent injuries and accidents on the road.

However, even for autonomous vehicles, some human mechanical expertise is needed to ensure optimal safety. Conventional preventive measures like installing the correct type of commercial tires, casing asset management, and having an established tire retreading interval will still be an important part of the process.

As AVs prove out their safety record, it is logical to assume that insurance premiums might also go down.

To Conclude

Smart companies and fleet managers will quickly recognize the need for a clear plan to adapt and upgrade their commercial fleet inventory.

As manufacturers grapple to seize the opportunity, competition is tough in the autonomous vehicle industry. In fact, 80% of the top OEMs have already announced plans for fully-automated vehicles to be ready by 2025.

To have a realistic chance of standing out in the group, they must emphasize maximizing user experience, incorporating safety, productivity, and ergonomic factors within their self-driving vehicles.

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