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Prospect of accident-free fleet may push firms to adopt autonomous cars, says Chevin

If the vehicles’ technology is proven to drastically reduce at-fault accidents, the pressure for fleets to acquire them may be overwhelming, says managing director Ashley Sowerby, adding: “The promise of a potentially accident-free fleet will be too great an attraction to resist.”

Sowerby said the risk argument was likely to prevail over resistance among drivers to autonomous vehicles.

“If the choice facing a large organisation boils down to, drastically reduce the risk of accident from your fleet or upset a few drivers, then managers can only responsibly make one decision.”

However he highlighted that the adoption of driverless cars prompts larger questions, such as whether the emergence of the autonomous car will lead to a general rethink on fleet ownership and car allocation.

“There is a long list of potential issues,” he commented. Will the one car-one driver model survive? Will fleets continue to buy or lease cars, or instead use vehicle-on-call services? Will it lead to the emergence of a general corporate mobility model?

“All of these need to be considered and there is a chance we will have to start to tackle them within 5-10 years. It is not imminent but fleet managers should certainly ensure that they are aware of the key issues.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.