The UK might be going through uncertain times, but the CEO of Jaguar hopes mass-automation can offer a brighter – and cheaper – future.
Speaking at the inaugural Jaguar Tech Fest, the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover has divulged his vision for the future of Britain. Dr Ralf Speth, who heads up what is currently the UK’s largest car company, said that advancements in motoring will benefit us all, and waxed prophetic on driverless vehicles.
According to Speth, one of the first big changes we might see is price-slashing of in-store goods, thanks to the reduced shipping costs made possible by driverless delivery vehicles:
“Take autonomy,” said Dr Speth. “The first industry that will change will be road haulage. Reductions in congestion will boost productivity in all sectors. Costs will be cut, meaning that the price of goods in our shops can fall.”
It’s not a wacky prediction, either. A recent study by insurance giant AXA found that driverless haulage vehicles could save the shipping industry between £33.6 billion and £47.5 billion in just 10 years.
That same study found that if these savings were passed onto consumers, it would be the equivalent of over half of a person’s weekly retail expenditure – or a week-and-a-half of groceries.
But Speth warns that even though there are benefits to driverless vehicles, the outlook might not be rosy for everyone – particularly delivery drivers:
“In the UK, there are currently more than a quarter of a million lorry drivers. Hard working, well-paid. What happens to our society if these lose their jobs? Who pays for them? What happens to the social fabric of the country?”
He went on: “The first industrial revolution…was a technological one. A financial one. Whose consequences took centuries to resolve. We cannot make the same mistake with the mobility revolution on our doorstep 200 years later.”
Research conducted by consultancy firm PwC earlier this year found that as many as 30% of jobs in the UK are potentially under threat from automation and artificial intelligence. The main sectors that are expected to be affected include wholesale, retailing, manufacturing, administrative and support services, and transport and storage.
Speth’s comments came at today’s Jaguar Tech Fest in London, where the company showed off a new driverless car concept. The vehicle is a vision of what driving might look like in 2040, and you can read all about it right here: Jaguar Future Pace.
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