Research suggests that 43% of UK businesses believe their drivers will accept using autonomous cars.
Also, findings by vehicle leasing and fleet management company Arval shows that 38% believe that autonomous cars will have a positive impact on existing road safety issues.
Shaun Sadlier, Head of Consultancy at Arval, said, “Clearly, autonomous cars will represent a huge change in how vehicles are used, and bearing in mind that virtually no fleet managers will have had the chance to examine one yet, a 43% acceptance rate is already quite high.
“It is likely that, if autonomous cars are shown to operate effectively on UK roads in a real-world environment, this figure could rise quickly – although we also expect that there will remain a core of employees who will always want to drive themselves.”
The findings come from Arval’s annual Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer, which is recognised as one of the most highly authoritative pieces of research carried out in the fleet sector.
For 2016, 2,993 separate and detailed interviews were carried out across Europe with managers responsible for business vehicles ranging from one to thousands of cars and vans.
Sadlier added, “The fleet industry is undergoing a period of significant change – new technology such as electric vehicles and autonomous cars are starting to enter the mainstream and look set, over a period of years, to overturn the domination of diesel.
“However, our research shows that fleet managers appear to be ready to embrace this change and are optimistic about the future, believing that they will see growth in their fleets in the short-medium term as a result of business expansion.”
Other results include:
43% of UK fleet managers believe that the total number of cars and vans they operate will increase over the next three years.
21% of those operating cars and 25% of those with vans report that vehicle replacement cycles have become longer.
UK fleets with 40 vehicles or more are predicting that the percentage of diesel cars they operate will reduce from 88% today to 76% within five years.
The alternative fuels they believe will replace diesel include conventional hybrids (34% already implemented and 31% considering), plug-in hybrids (20% implemented, 28% considering) and fully electric (17% implemented, 26% considering).
41% of fleet managers say that their youngest generation of employees would accept car sharing as an option in the future, overturning the one-vehicle, one-driver model.