By Arun Srinivasan head of Bosch Mobility Solutions UK and chairman of Roadsafe
Automated driving is a hot topic for both the automotive industry and society. Barely a day passes without a headline speculating on what the future of our roads will look like and what it will feel like to be behind the wheel – or even if there’ll be a steering wheel.
Equally, scepticism is evident. Our recent research shows the UK public is apprehensive about the potential of automated vehicles and struggles to see a future in which they’d use one.
We also see confusion about the different degrees of automation, creating some disappointment that vehicles can’t do more today and apprehension about the impact of full autonomy.
But what’s the fleet manager’s role in this? Alongside accurate information, Bosch believes fleets of all sizes have an important role to play in demonstrating the benefits of automation for two key reasons.
Firstly, the quantity of vehicles provides the opportunity to improve road safety and yield great savings. Automated driving is, first and foremost, about making road traffic safer.
Automation also makes driving more efficient. Studies indicate that applying predictive driving strategies on motorways can result in improved emissions and fuel efficiency, reducing costs by nearly 40%.
Secondly, because fleets are closely managed and monitored, they can provide evidence of the benefits of automated driving, thus improving the public perception.
Successful fleet management means staying at the forefront of technological changes, putting a greater focus on automation in fleets than perhaps in private ownership.
As we now see with partnerships introducing electric vehicles into business travel, we expect to see a similar trend with automation.
This means fleets and commercial vehicles are where people are likely to observe higher levels of automated functions first. At the same time, education and training will run alongside, improving overall understanding.
Ultimately, trust in the technology is important. Fleets have a unique role to play, but to realise the benefits of automated vehicles without delay, different parts of the automotive industry need to work together to create the trust needed to unlock the benefits of autonomy.