A study undertaken by AXA UK has suggested that there would be business and consumer advantages in adopting driverless haulage and logistics vehicles.
According to AXA, nearly £34bn in savings to the haulage industry could be delivered by autonomous vehicles.
The report, The Future of Driverless Haulage, found that when considering the anticipated cost savings across four cost categories: labour, fuel, insurance and vehicle utilisation, there would be an estimated £33.6bn of savings. AXA said that figure has the potential to climb to £47.5bn after 10 years.
AXA also said that if these savings were passed onto consumers, this would equate to over half of a person’s weekly retail expenditure or almost one and a half weeks’ worth of groceries - £150.
David Williams, head of underwriting at AXA UK, said: “In commissioning this economic modelling, we wanted to discover the financial impacts of introducing driverless haulage fleets.
“The results confirmed our suspicion that automated freight will not only be much more efficient and make the roads safer for other users, it will also reduce the prices of the end products that we all buy.
“Autonomous vehicles can help reduce the needless number of lives lost through road traffic accidents caused by human error and assist in driving down fuel costs and consumption.
“HGVs alone were involved in 6,000 road accidents in 2013, comprising a total of 8,448 casualties, 258 of which were fatalities.”
Williams added, “These are preventable, human-error accidents and the introduction of driverless technology has the potential to transform the haulage industry, with significant implications for the UK’s roads, in terms of safety and congestion, for its environment, business and the UK economy as a whole.”
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