Vehicles

How Will Driverless Cars Affect Your Fleet Business?

Martin Romjue
Posted on April 18, 2018
Autonomous vehicles expert Chris Jones will explain on May 1 during the LCT Technology Summit how the luxury ground transportation industry can embrace and adapt to driverless vehicles (LCT file photo)
Autonomous vehicles expert Chris Jones will explain on May 1 during the LCT Technology Summit how the luxury ground transportation industry can embrace and adapt to driverless vehicles (LCT file photo)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The media overflows with predictions about the pending revolution to be wheeled in on driverless vehicles. It’s enough to confuse even the most engaged and informed followers of technology.

To sort out the facts from the hype, LCT is bringing one of the leading analysts of autonomous vehicles to the annual Technology Summit on Monday, April 30 at the Miami Beach Edition Hotel. Chris Jones, a founder of Canalys, a provider of consulting and market analysis for the high-tech industry, will present, “How Our Industry Should Capitalize On Driverless Cars.”

Jones said he plans to answer questions and guide operators on the “when, where, why, and how” of autonomous vehicles coming to market. “Everything revolves around those questions: What are the strategies of leading R&D companies? What are current deployments and launch plans of vehicles with higher levels of autonomy?”

The OEMs so far have successfully implemented Level 2 autonomous systems, which are driver assist features such as lane correction, parking guidance, and collision warnings. Jones will share the latest plans and timetables from OEMs on installing Level 3 through Level 5 systems in vehicles, with the end goal of full autonomy without steering wheels and control pedals. The first autonomous vehicles could be deployed in a ride-hailing or TNC fleet.

For today’s luxury transportation operators, how you are running a fleet network and fleet management practices are crucial to a driverless fleet transition, Jones said.

“With higher levels of autonomy, you will still need the services of ensuring vehicles are in the right place at the right time,” Jones said. “A fluid type of management of the vehicles is still needed. In many cases, there would be a great need for an operator of that vehicle to offer first mile and last mile solutions [for a trip].” Jones defines those solutions as optional vehicle attendants who interact with passengers, being available to monitor the vehicle, provide information, help with luggage, or fulfill rider requests.

Vehicle ownership would likely decline in a driverless transportation scene, pushing many riders toward managed electronic fleet networks, Jones said. He emphasized many companies are researching and developing driverless technology, and it is not a foregone conclusion that Uber will be the leading, prevailing supplier.

“Uber won’t be alone in trying to rush this technology to market,” he said. “Other companies are trying to be first, while others will focus on being the safest. So far, Waymo has driven the most [autonomous] miles on the road. We’ll start to see more Waymo vehicles in cities around U.S.”

Jones mentioned his 10-year-old daughter may never have to learn how to drive a car, but first many technological, psychological, and regulatory factors would have to be sorted out.

“Trust is a big thing. We need to trust these vehicles. We need to be able to put family members into vehicles with no driver and no steering wheel, and be 100% confident the vehicle will safely make it to their destination.”

For more information on Jones’ presentation and the complete schedule at the LCT Technology Summit, April 28-May 1, go to www.lctsummit.com.

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Related Topics: autonomous vehicles, driverless cars, industry education, industry events, industry leaders, industry trends, keynote speakers, LCT Summit, leadership, Miami Beach, networking, research and trends, self-driving vehicles

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