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Self-driving vehicles to change role of fleet manager

Fleet & Mobility Live

The dawn of self-driving vehicles will change the responsibilities and roles of fleet managers, delegates at Fleet Live & Mobility were told.

Speaking at the autonomy and autonomous technology seminar, Becks Posner, social behavioural research and evaluation lead at Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), said there will be an increase in the number of fleets which operate autonomous vehicles in the future.

This will likely lead to a reduction in vehicle ownership and, in turn, an increase in the use of shared mobility or on-demand transport.

Posner said: “There's actually potential for in the long term for all vehicles to be part of a fleet, which in itself is quite a huge change in terms of the implications for fleet operators and the roles required around that.

“We’re also like to see a change in the responsibilities and roles of fleet managers.

“Potential changes include legal responsibilities, but there will also be other ones including the maintenance of the vehicles.

“Without an end-user in charge, in essence, the fleet operator will be responsible for all aspects of the maintenance, including refuelling or recharging, ensuring the roadworthiness and the insurance of the vehicle.

“There will also be changes in the skillset required to ensure that maintenance, particularly software capabilities, to ensure the safety and the cyber resilience of the software systems.

“And there will be more focus on ensuring the integration of the journey. So how do you manage downtime with vehicles?

“How do we ensure the vehicles are able to navigate the environment as effectively as possible and meet demand both for people and goods.”

Posner said the connected and autonomous vehicle sector is likely to see lots of new players enter the market.

“Autonomous vehicles will require more maintenance, particularly software updates, which may actually lead to traditional vehicle manufacturers who are used to just developing technology and selling it, to becoming fleet operators themselves potentially, particularly if we're moving away from private vehicle ownership,” she said.

“Similarly, we are starting to see and this is only likely to increase. new mobility providers that are purchasing the vehicles themselves and managing those fleets of vehicles.

“We're moving away from the provision of transport being just bus operators or traditional mobility providers to actually smaller organisations that are providing their own mobility services and managing the fleet of vehicles themselves.”

The autonomy and autonomous technology seminar also saw a presentation from Simon Brewerton, chief technology officer at autonomous vehicle manufacturer Aurrigo, who talked about the vehicles and trials his employer is involved in.

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