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International Forwarding Association Blog » European Logistics » The use of driverless vehicles for European logistics – pros and cons
driverless vehicles for European logistics

The use of driverless vehicles for European logistics – pros and cons

Driverless vehicles which use the combination between data from the road maps and the data from the vehicle sensors to get from one destination to another are already a fact. Most people associate this innovation with Google’s self-driving cars which work by implementing the road map and traffic data. They are made and function based on the SLAM principle meaning: simultaneous location and mapping.

 

In the future these types of vehicles will be used not only for helping visually impaired people and others to drive from one place to another, but also for other transport purposes including for logistics, and the international freight forwarders association has already made the first steps to make this happen. The entire European logistics service will benefit from the implementation of driverless trucks for freight forwarding due to a number of advantages provided and guaranteed by this innovation in the world of transportation.

 

driverless vehicles for European logistics

 

Possibilities for simulating the presence of human drivers

The new technologies make it possible to mimic human presence in the vehicles, which can help with the decision making for the driving as well as with the speed choice. This can be done with the help of a system of cameras, sensors, radars as well as with the satellite navigation systems.

 

The advantages for the logistics companies from this type of vehicles

Road transport is the main type of transport used by the freight forwarders association for the shipment and delivery of goods and cargo throughout Europe. This is why with the implementation of the driverless vehicles, including trucks and smaller vehicles is of growing interest to the forwarders throughout Еurope. Logistics can benefit from this type of transport for various reasons including:

  • The automatization of the driving process will exclude the risks of human error which can occur due to fatigue or other reasons.
  • The traffic congestion can be avoided with the help of the automatized systems allowing for immediate data analysis of the road maps and the traffic, which will help reduce traffic jams on the main European roads.
  • The abovementioned benefits will help increase the efficiency of the logistics services provided by the European network for transportation by decreasing the transit time and guaranteeing faster deliveries.
  • Another important benefit is the decrease of fuel costs due to the automatized optimization of the routes used by the driverless vehicles. This will lead to reduced transport costs for the customers as well.

Possible negative aspects of using unmanned vehicles

As with any other innovation in logistics, the member companies of the freight forwarders Europe are discussing the possible negative sides of the implementation of driverless vehicles for forwarding. While the elimination of the risk of human error is a major advantage, at the same time the lack of human control can lead to possible problems in case of unforeseen circumstances on the road occur, and there are doubts about whether the vehicle will handle such situations safely and without incidents.

The software used by the driverless vehicles is another possible weak point due to the fact that like any other type of software it is at risk of being hacked and thus become risky for the logistics services it provides.

The implementation of driverless vehicles also will lead to the inevitable issue of personnel cuts. Of course, the common view is that the driver profession will continue to exist in the future, but there is no doubt that with the mass implementation of driverless vehicles for the international freight services, many drivers from the logistics companies will lose their jobs.

Only the future will tell how efficient the use of driverless vehicles for logistics will turn out to be. Since there are many advantages from the implementation of this new transport type, the international freight forwarders are already planning on their gradual implementation for the European logistics services they provide.