Fleet managers will need to familiarise themselves with the different kinds of autonomous car technologies as they start to arrive on the market, says Arval, a leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
There will be no overnight shift to driverless vehicles but the next few years will see a range of stepping stones towards autonomous driving, explained Shaun Sadlier, Head of Consultancy at Arval UK.
He said, ” Before we reach a point where driverless cars are potentially available as company vehicles, there will be a number of interim steps, and fleet managers will need to know their way around them in some detail.”
Shaun added that the development of this technology was expected to follow a pattern known as ‘feet-off, hands-off, brain-off.’
He said that each step in the evolution of autonomous technology represented a different set of challenges for fleet managers.
“For example, the arrival of Autopilot-style features raises a whole series of questions. Where do you stand from a risk management point of view? How does your insurer view such technology? Will drivers use it responsibly or is there a risk of abuse?
“Steps beyond this towards full autonomy create even more questions. You start to move into an area where you are questioning whether the car or the driver is responsible for safety. These are complex matters, especially bearing in mind that a legislative framework for such vehicles doesn’t even exist yet.”