Ecommerce has been on the rise for a long time, but the pandemic has greatly accelerated growth in this industry which has lead online retailers and businesses push huge financial support into logistics and delivery services in order to keep up with demand and to compete at a higher level. Automated delivery and logistics services have been discussed for many years, so when might this happen and how could this impact businesses?
Autonomous vehicle technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and it is expected that autonomous vehicles will be on the roads in the next few years. In addition to regular vehicles, this could include trucks and allow online retailers to automate their logistics and delivery which can bring many benefits to the business.
So, what exactly are these benefits? Autonomous vehicles in logistics could improve safety because it would eliminate human error, it would allow for faster and more efficient deliveries as they could run all day and night without the need for a break. Additionally, it could reduce shipping costs by driving at the optimum speed and knowing how to change routes to avoid costly delays.
The Impact on Employment
Of course, autonomous trucks would have a big impact on employment which makes it a contentious area. Goldman Sachs estimate that this type of technology could eliminate as many as 300,000 driver jobs every year. However, autonomous trucks could also provide greater opportunity for disadvantaged people and the better working conditions and increased safety could make a career here more enticing.
There are a few other concerns too, including potential cybersecurity issues which businesses must consider. Not only this, but UK motorway congestion and the number of entries and exits could create difficulties and potential safety issues. Changing regulatory framework will also be a complex area with reforms needed for vehicle safety approvals. It will be important to seek advice from a technology insurance company as insurance will change over time to accommodate this evolving business strategy.
The Current Situation
Platoon tests have been carried out in the UK to trial self-driving lorries and recently a consortium received £2.4 million of funding to develop self-driving trucks while VW have also recently secured a deal to start developing Level 4 (vehicle does not require human interaction in most circumstances) autonomous trucks. While there is still some way to go, it is clear that this technology is on the horizon and will have a huge impact on logistics.
It has been a busy time for those in logistics during the pandemic with many struggling to keep up with demand. Autonomous vehicle technology could certainly help and this certainly seems to be on the horizon and there could be many benefits for businesses that are able to implement this groundbreaking tech.