A University of Notre Dame professor says the emerging technology of driverless vehicles can “transform the landscape” of logistics. Don Howard, who leads the Riley Center For Science, Technology and Values, says software-driven fleets could save businesses money on labor and insurance and would improve efficiency because they could run 24 hours per day. He says, “while you feel sympathy” for workers who could be displaced by the technology, many businesses would be able to re-invest the savings into new hires in other areas. You can read Howard's op-ed on the topic in the Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

Howard also believes driverless vehicles will change the way consumers interact with business. He envisions a system that combines the self-driving car and car sharing concepts. Howard believes individuals would pay for a membership in such a program that would allow them to use smartphones to call a vehicle to pick them up and take them where they want to go. He says that type of system could ultimately eliminate the need for large parking lots, leading to the potential for large shopping malls and box stores to move to downtown areas.

He says there will likely be resistance to the technology, as some people and businesses “labor under the illusion” that human drivers are safer than software programs. However, he believes driverless vehicles will be in major automakers' showrooms within ten years. Howard says the timeline is heavily dependent on how the federal government chooses to regulate the technology.

Sources: University of Notre Dame, Inside INdiana Business

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