UK fleet management specialist, Venson Automotive Solutions, has published a new white paper, The Journey Towards Full Driving Automation, to help businesses keep track of the latest developments in self-driving.
With multiple new technologies now very close to being market-ready, and the legislative framework taking shape, Venson is urging fleet managers to future-proof the sector for self-driving, just as they are doing with electric vehicles (EVs).
An important part of this is recognising that, along with the promise of an improved environment for vulnerable road users, decreased traffic volumes, improved safety and more shared mobility, there will be new duties and obligations for those with responsibility for mobility within organisations.
For example, safe self-driving rollout will require fleet managers to embrace the new concepts devised by the Law Commissions, such as the Authorised Self-Driving Entity (ASDE) – the manufacturer or developer that puts the vehicle forward for authorisation and takes responsibility for its actions – and the No User-in-Charge (NUIC).
To obtain a NUIC operator licence, the fleet managers of passenger service and freight companies will need to meet certain requirements, including being ‘of good repute’ and having ‘appropriate financial standing’.
The C in connected and automated mobility (CAM) will also bring many benefits, not least the massive safety gains facilitated by having real-time warnings about potential hazards.
When it comes to insurance, again, it will be imperative for both fleet managers and drivers to have a full and clear understanding of the vehicle’s limitations.
Self-driving fleet comment
Simon Staton, Client Management Director at Venson, said: “CAM will have a significant impact on fleet managers and only by horizon-scanning, adapting and developing the fleet management role will UK businesses and vulnerable road users be able to benefit from it.
“Just as the fleet industry is taking the reins and steering electrification in the UK, the importance of the fleet manager cannot be understated as we journey towards full driving automation.
“As fleets juggle lagging service, maintenance and repair (SMR), and elastic lead times on new vehicles, CAM may seem too far into the future. However, driving learning and continuous professional development (CPD) on CAM is fundamentally important to our ability to steer development of the fleet function.
“Whether it is keeping tabs on UK self-driving regulation, the impact of CAM on the Highway Code, or how connectivity, already enabling remote diagnostics, will empower prognostics – the ability to fix things before they go wrong – it is up to us as a sector to keep one step ahead.
“There has been much talk about the dawn of fully autonomous vehicles. However, many of the vehicles we drive today already encompass much of this technology.
“Safe self-driving will change the world for the better and fleet operators will be in the vanguard, taking on vital new responsibilities and reaping the commercial benefits.”
Self-driving white paper
The Journey Towards Full Driving Automation features many names familiar to Cars of the Future readers, including Beam Connectivity, BSI, CCAV, Reed Mobility, Thatcham and Zenzic.
It profiles the Oxa zero-occupancy trial, the CAVForth project in Scotland (winner of the Vehicle of the Year Award at the recent Self-driving Industry Awards), Milton Park, Wayve and Imperium Drive, along with expert comments by Malcolm Wilkinson, of National Highways, and Steve Gooding, of the RAC Foundation, among many others.
It also highlights the 2023 Communications Toolkit, developed by the Automated Vehicle Driver Responsibility in Vehicle Education group (AV- DRIVE), featuring important inputs by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The full Venson white paper, The Journey Towards Full Driving Automation, is free and available for download from venson.com