Are fleet managers ready for autonomous vehicles?

The only constant in life is change, an idiom that's especially true for those whose work revolves around the automotive industry. 

More than any other, it seems, motoring manufacturers are in a constant state of flux as new consumer and regulatory demands alter the cars that fleet managers deal with on a daily basis. 

While safety and lower fuel consumption targets are two of the main motivations for these engineers, others are working on removing the human element altogether with autonomous cars. A number of vehicles on the market are already equipped with features that are essentially prototypes for these systems. 

For example, autonomous emergency braking technology uses some of the technology that will be the building blocks for completely driverless cars. An array of sensors and processors monitors the road ahead for hazards, and bases its actions on what it predicts drivers will do. 

This is beginning to prove itself a valuable addition to most vehicles, but how do people actually feel about its implementation? A survey produced by DEKRA and Forsa examined how drivers feel about the developing technology. 

The prevailing trend is one of scepticism, with only a small proportion of those across the world believing fully autonomous cars will be able to have a significant impact on the automobile industry some time within the next decade. 

Despite the evidence that the precursors to this technology are already showing up in current vehicles, a significant percentage of respondents to the survey believe the technology will never catch on. This view was most prevalent in Germany, where almost a third (31 per cent) of respondents believe there won't be a market for autonomous vehicles. 

One positive aspect most respondents agreed on was the value of the technology, with a significant percentage believing it could provide significant safety benefits.