As technology progresses and autonomous fleet vehicles becoming a real possibility in the future, fleet managers everywhere are wondering if the benefits are worth the cost. Frost & Sullivan, a global consulting firm, conducted a study entitled The Strategic Outlook of Autonomous Heavy-Duty Trucks that aims to address just that.
The study concluded long-haul trucking could wait a minimum of three years before seeing a return on investment, while “price-sensitive” markets will be slower to incorporate the new technology. Some autonomous vehicle technology is already being used in trucks, for instance, rear and forward cameras, collision avoidance, and electronic stability control.
Frost & Sullivan estimates autonomous fleet vehicles will take to North American roadways by 2025. The overall cost associated with incorporating autonomous vehicles into a fleet is around $30,000, and Frost & Sullivan doesn’t expect that number to drop by more than 10% due to the technological necessities.
The firm predicts just 7,970 autonomous vehicles will be on the road by 2025, but that number will jump to 182,031 come 2035.
Global director of automotive & transportation research, Sandeep Kar said there are a few specific things that will make autonomous fleet vehicles an attractive option for fleet managers: “It starts with driver satisfaction, for both existing and future truck operators. Drivers won’t have to physically operate the truck for long periods as the [ACV] technology will allow them to take breaks and stay connected with the world outside while in the cab. That ‘connectivity’ will be very important for recruiting younger drivers.”
Additionally, fleet managers will be encouraged by lower maintenance costs, better fuel efficiency, and overall better performance.