Automated driving: convincing work must be done

Automatisiertes Fahren

While the commercial vehicle industry is pushing forward the highly automated driving, the transport and logistics sector remains skeptical. This even starts with the use of software.

At the IAA Commercial Vehicles manufacturers have shown what might be possible in the future. Highly automated trucks could roll over Germany’s motorways within the next ten years. This trend has already reached transport companies and freight forwarders, but they are partly skeptical. This is demonstrated by the mobility study 2016 “The Networked Truck” by Continental. The supplier, in cooperation with the market research institute Infas, has interviewed managers, drivers and experts from the industry. The result is a comprehensive picture of the assessments of the basic conditions and the demands on upcoming vehicles and systems for digitization.

It astonishes that only one in four logisticians consider automated driving as particularly important. Even less is the enthusiasm among the drivers. Here, there are only nine percent who expressed the desire for automated driving and only 15 percent believe that it would add value for their professional life. There is a similar picture in platooning. 41 percent of the interviewees consider this to be completely unimportant for the industry. A sobering result for all those who see platooning coming in the foreseeable future. The critics, on the other hand, complain that there is no legal structure for this. This is the biggest criticism beside a non-existent infrastructure. However, technology is not the problem.

Entrepreneurs as well as drivers are not, however, opposed or hostile to innovation. In the highly competitive industry, where even large companies have only small market shares, the benefits of vehicles and applications are particularly good value for money. The logistics companies attach great importance to the fact that purchases are amortized within one to two years. Therefore, it is often the small evolutionary steps that are taken.

They are quite satisfied with today’s vehicle generation. Two-thirds of the logistics companies consider their trucks to be reliable and a further 64 percent are satisfied with their service and maintenance. As next steps, many transport and logistics companies are planning to further reduce the carbon dioxide exchange and also look closely at the market for electric vehicles. For 82 percent of the companies interviewed fear that the environmental requirements will become even more stringent. As a result, 66 percent of fuel-efficient technologies and driver assistance functions are at the top of the logistics center’s wish list. Almost half of the logisticians would like tire pressure monitoring systems. This would not only meet the environmental requirements, but also the companies hope to reduce their operating costs. This way, the skepticism towards highly automated driving can be further weakened, because assistance systems are a large part of this.

Ralf Johanning

Ralf Johanning studied political science and works as a freelance journalist. For over ten years now he reports on the transportation and logistics industry. The priorities include topics such as telematics, software, and ICT. In 2006 the trained editor, Head, and Press Officer founded the editorial office Alte Schule with his partner Ann-Christin Wimber.

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