Hefty minority see autonomous trucks role coming: survey

Solid acceptance of technology impact revealed in Teletrac Navman report from ACA Research

Hefty minority see autonomous trucks role coming: survey
The report's cover page


Autonomous on-road trucks may have been on the Australian transport industry’s agenda seriously for only a few years but the concept has more than a foothold in its mindset.

On the flip side, most of the industry, especially from owner-drivers to small fleets, see no role for them in their businesses.

This is the outcome of Teletrac Navman’s newly released Autonomous Trucks: an industry research report by ACA Research.

"More than four in 10 fleets and half of larger fleets believe autonomous vehicles will play a role in the Australian road freight industry in the next 10 years," ACA’s researchers report.

"Despite this, many are sceptical of their capabilities although this is likely to change as road testing is completed in Australian conditions.

"Cost reduction leads safety and efficiency as the top benefits for fleets of all sizes, with early adopters specifically calling out lower compliance costs."

The research found larger fleets are more likely to become earlier adopters of the technology. 

Half of larger fleets stated autonomous vehicles will play a crucial role in the industry within the next 10 years.

Forty per cent of fleet managers and transport operators perceived cost reduction to be the top benefit of autonomous vehicle use, as stated by.

This is followed by safety (39 per cent) and efficiency (29 per cent).

While all benefits won’t be realised until the technology comes fully into play, 58 per cent of fleet managers see autonomous vehicle technology as offering benefits their business.

Fleets running interstate routes also identified the potential to see the biggest reduction in costs benefits offered by autonomous trucks.

"Autonomous vehicle technology is evolving at a rapid pace, with expected timeframes for adoption in Australia continuing to shift," according to Andrew Rossington, vice president of Transtech, a division of Teletrac Navman Australia.

"As the technology becomes more commonplace, it will significantly impact costs, safety and operational efficiency across the road freight transport sector."

The primary aim was to explore the perceptions of self-driving trucks, expected timeframes for adoption and the likely benefits for fleets of all shapes and sizes.

To put the survey together, 207 quantitative telephone interviews were conducted with road freight transport companies from across Australia.

The sample included executives responsible for fleet management in road freight transport companies

All interviews were conducted between November 28 and December 13.

The full report can be accessed here.

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook