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Autonomous Vehicles (Avs) And Their Many Benefits

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The future of driving may be coming sooner than we think. Discussion across the media and in popular culture is increasingly turning to the development of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and their potential impact across the transport sector. Anyone who makes a living from courier jobs stands to be affected significantly, and it’s crucial for drivers and managers to keep a keen eye on the future.

There has of course been a lot of doomsaying – as there always is when major technological changes are on the horizon. But automation actually has a lot to offer businesses.

Productivity

While automation might well be the future, there are a lot of options currently available, with a range of different levels of autonomy. Each, however, requires some human oversight. This suggests that while the nature of courier jobs will change, they will still be there.

Perhaps the biggest upshot for firms is that, as individual workers need to pay far less attention to the road, they can instead use their time to perform other tasks such as completing paperwork and admin tasks. Workers would still be compensated for the same amount of time on the job, then, but they’d be able to do far more with that time. This could increase productivity, enabling firms to save a lot.

What’s more, we could see restrictions on uninterrupted driving times become more relaxed, as drowsiness at the wheel is not a concern with tireless AVs!

Fuel Consumption

While this is less specific to automation and more a result of other new technologies, lower fuel consumption can both save fleets money and reduce the environmental consequences of delivery work. Fuel consumption for many vehicles is set to reduce by 18% by 2050, and AVs’ lesser weight could enable them to save an additional 7% in fuel by 2030.

In addition, semi-automated technology like smooth acceleration and deceleration and cruise control, which assists and optimises driver performance, could improve fuel economy by a further 10%.

Efficiency

One way in which automation could significantly affect courier jobs is by enabling vehicles to travel closer to each other safely for longer periods of time. ‘Platooning’, linking AVs together by electrical coupling, enables a convoy of vehicles to move as one, accelerating and decelerating in unison as needed. This both reduces dangers of collision and does away with the ‘concertina’ effect that sees successive braking and speeding cause major congestion.

Similarly, adaptive cruise control and smart collision avoidance allow AVs to complete journeys far more quickly, while real-time route optimisation helps minimise the impact of road conditions and incidents on journey times.

Safety

Last but not least, AVs have the potential to massively increase the safety of courier jobs, as illustrated by the following statistics from the United States:

· 222 trucks are involved in an accident every 100 million vehicle miles

· 94% of all US accidents relate to human error

In removing human error, AVs have the potential to reduce the number of collisions per 100 million vehicle miles to just eight. The dangers of slow reaction time, distraction, tiredness and so on would all but fade into the past.

We hope this short list of the benefits of AVs encourages firms to look into the best ways to use this new technology to adapt the way courier jobs are carried out.
About author: Desiree Michels

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

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