Delivery specialists Hermes is set to partner Ford on a pilot of self-driving vehicles being used to deliver parcels etc to homes and businesses in the UK. The research programme will use a customised Ford commercial vehicle to demonstrate the response of other road users to a vehicle without a driver.
This is all very interesting, but let’s extrapolate that a bit. Deliveries are made in an autonomous vehicle. Fine. There is a growing market for delivery vans, many of the sales being to self-employed drivers. Fine. So if delivery companies stop using these drivers who come to your dealership for their van, who are you going to sell vans to?
Where is the future for this important segment of the commercial vehicle market if you don’t sell to someone who wants a bit of comfort in their working day; who wants a few bells and whistles in their van; who cares about its driveability?
So, while Ford and Hermes muck about with their robot van, stop and think. Where will this end? It’ll end in lost sales, that’s where.