There has been a lot of talk as of late among the car manufacturers about the future of autonomous self-driving vehicles, the challenges of bringing these cars to market, and the competition in the space. However, what will the long-term impact of the technology be for an industry like construction?
Driverless cars are coming, and coming soon, according to many predictions from analysts. One recent report from Navigant Research, www.navigant.com, Chicago, Ill., says worldwide sales of vehicles with autonomous capability will grow from zero in 2014 to 94.7 million in 2035.
With this type of vehicle coming in the future, the construction industry may need to begin considering how these cars will impact business, as construction companies often need a fleet of vehicles for a job. With the growth of distractions in the car and on the road, the technology could also create a much safer working environment on highway construction projects.
The report from Navigant specifically points to one of the biggest hurdles though for bringing these cars to market—liability, regulation, and legislation. The company says if government isn’t willing to take the steps to make autonomous vehicles legal on public roads, it could be a big obstacle.
Regulatory concerns aside the technology is advancing. David Alexander, senior research analyst, Navigant Research, says the combination of advanced driver assistance features that can enable semi-autonomous driving are being brought to market and currently cost reductions due to increasing volumes and technology advancements could make the installation of multiple sensors feasible.
If the hurdles can be overcome, the benefits could be big. For construction, this could be two-fold. First, it will change how construction workers that are behind-the-wheel perform business. Additionally, it could ultimately impact highway construction projects as well.