The Netherlands is second year in a row the best prepared country for autonomous vehicles (AVs). Second and third place belongs to Singapore and Norway. Maintaining mobility in older age, consumers consider this type of vehicles as the most valuable asset. Moreover, it is expected that autonomous vehicles will help reduce car accidents as human error is the most common cause of accidents. The results are based on the latest KPMG Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index.
1.35 million people were killed on the world’s roads in 2016, up from 1.25 million in 2013, according to the World Health Organization, with studies suggesting that human error causes at least nine in 10 accidents. Removing human error risk by moving to AVs should therefore deliver an enormous reduction in vehicle-related deaths — something that is important to remember, in light of the first death caused by the testing of AVs, as well as one from the use of a partially autonomous car, in 2018.
Despite the focus on when driverless cars will be available, autonomous minibuses are already providing passenger services in countries including Norway, Sweden and France, and AVs are likely to be as important in transforming public transport as they will be for private cars. They will allow public transport providers to move from fixed-route, fixed-timetable bus services to on-demand autonomous alternatives, which would efficiently and effectively take people from door to door.
As a possible result, some fear a rapid disappearance of driving jobs, which are a major source of employment with 4.8 million people in the 28 European Union (EU) countries alone. „However, there are reasons to expect that the replacement of professional drivers with technology will be gradual, with software initially taking over some elements of driving but with people still required for the likes of close manoeuvring,“ explained Jozef Geci, infrastructure sector leader, KPMG Slovakia.
A continual decline in the frequency of accidents should drive a drop in industry loss costs, with a precipitous fall starting in a decade as the vehicle stock converts. The mix of insurance will also change, as commercial and products liability lines expand. Within 25 years, our models suggest a scenario where the personal auto insurance sector could shrink to 40 percent of current size. The elimination of excess capacity could bring severe market issue, with changing business models and new competitors only adding to the turbulence and speed of change.
The Netherlands, which again leads the AVRI, is an example of how to ready a country for AVs by performing strongly in many areas.
On freight, it plans to have dozens of driverless delivery trucks operating closely together on international highways. In a March 2018 speech, Dutch infrastructure minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said the country will work with Germany and Belgium to introduce ‘truck platooning’ along the ‘Tulip corridors’ from Amsterdam to Antwerp and Rotterdam to the Ruhr valley, with the aim of enabling convoys of at least 100 trucks and eventually self-driving vehicles at night.
Singapore, a powerhouse of technological innovation, ranked #2. With a leading university, it has created a test town for driverless vehicles complete with traffic lights, bus stops, skyscrapers and a rain machine that recreates its stormy tropical weather.
Five new countries, including Czech Republic, were added to the Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index 2019. The next few years will see new AV testing grounds built in the Czech Republic, including one being constructed by German vehicle maker BMW at a 1,200 acre site in Sokolov near the German border. It will spend more than 100 million euros on the site, which is due to start work early next decade. BMW chose the test site, its first in eastern Europe and in a country where it does not currently manufacture, from 82 potential locations, with lower costs as a factor.
Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) is a tool to help measure 25 countries’ level of preparedness for autonomous vehicles. It is a composite index that combines 25 individual measures from a range of sources into a single score. More information on the results, methodology and sources used is in the Appendix. The intended core audience for the AVRI is public sector organizations with responsibility for transport and infrastructure. It should also be of interest to other public and private sector organizations that are involved with, or make use of, road transport.
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