Driverless vehicles could save the haulage industry nearly £34 billion, according to research.
A study by AXA UK and independent financial analyst Douglas McNeill, found there would be significant economy-wide business and consumer advantages with the advent of automated or ‘driverless’ haulage and logistics vehicles, including nearly £34 billion in savings.
A report, The Future of Driverless Haulage, found when considering the anticipated cost savings across four categories - labour, fuel, insurance and vehicle utilisation - there would be an estimated £33.6 billion of savings, potentially rising as high as £47.5 billion, after 10 years.
The cost reductions would arise from the need for fewer drivers and from more fuel efficient driving of computer controlled vehicles, as well as lower insurance costs if driverless vehicles prove to be less accident-prone. Driverless vehicles could also be used more efficiently as they would not have the restrictions of driver working hours.
The report concluded as a result of these savings, the financial impact of introducing a significant number of driverless HGVs on the haulage industry would be between £19.5 billion and £47.5 billion over 10 years, with total cost savings of £33.6 billion over the 10-year period being the base case assumption.
AXA UK said the decrease in transport costs should also have a knock on effect of reduced prices for consumers.
David Williams, head of underwriting at AXA UK, said: “The results confirmed our suspicion that automated freight will not only be much more efficient and make the roads safer for other users, it will also reduce the prices of the end products that we all buy.”
AXA UK said that autonomous vehicles could also help reduce the number of lives lost through road traffic accidents caused by human error.