Future Scenarios for Automated Freight

How will automation hit the freight industry?

Published Apr 25, 2018

Last week at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) conference held in Vienna Ida Kristoffersson (VTI) and Anna Pernestål Brenden (ITRL) presented a work that looks into scenarios for self-driving vehicles and their societal impacts in Sweden.

The impacts and scenarios are results of a workshop held with various actors from the industry, authorities, research, hauliers and transport union. Impacts are divided into benefits and costs to the society, and drivers and barriers to the implementation of SDVs (self-driving vehicles) in freight transport.

The paper extends previous research by developing future scenarios for self-driving vehicles and their societal impacts in freight transport using Sweden as a case study. Freight experts from vehicle manufacturers, agencies, universities and hauliers were recruited for a workshop where they assessed the benefits, costs, possibilities and barriers for self-driving vehicles in freight transport. The paper shows that reduction in driver and vehicle costs, reduced number of incidents and more fuel-efficient driving are seen as the main benefits of self-driving vehicles in freight transport, and increased vehicle costs, lost jobs, reduced degree of filling and more transport as the main costs. Furthermore, reduced drivers’ costs, more hours-of-service and new business models are identified as the main drivers of the development and traffic management, small hauliers, loading and unloading and cross-border transport as the main barriers. The paper also integrates the description of possible developments of self-driving vehicles in freight transport into the four future scenarios developed for passenger transport in Sweden.

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