Last week, we discussed a new way that automation is beginning to make its way into the field service workforce. While the landscaping example we spoke of is still in its infantile stages, it’s no secret that much larger strides have been made in the world of vehicle automation. But just how soon should we expect that autonomous vehicles will become the norm on the open road?

According to findings by Statista, there will be significant growth in the next 10 years, but it may not be to the extent that many thought it would be. They estimate that just 1 in 10 vehicles will be self-driving by the year 2030. While that is a relatively large jump, considering the speed that new technologies are adopted today, it’s a modest increase.

What is curtailing a faster growth? Well, for one thing, manufacturers’ projected ability to scale up production on new vehicles. For another — and this may be the biggest reason — more than 70 percent of all consumers believe that these types of vehicles are vulnerable to hacker attacks, making them hesitant to make the switch.

That being said, you may be surprised to learn that the industry most likely to embrace autonomous vehicles over any other is the taxi industry. Its market-size projection for 2030 is at an astounding $1.2 trillion worldwide.

But just because the general public may not be fully on board with the idea, that doesn’t mean this technology will necessarily stay too far removed from implementation within various other industries. Just this week, Royal Truck & Equipment Inc. announced that it will begin testing out its Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator (ATMA). The test will take place along a 5-mile stretch of highway in Florida with the robotic truck following a human-driven lead truck. The lead vehicle will transmit GPS data to the ATMA to help guide it, while the ATMA will serve as a protective buffer in the event any vehicle inadvertently drifts into the work zone.

The demonstration — if proven to be successful — will certainly be an indication of changes to come in the field maintenance industry. How drastic and rapid will those changes be? That is yet to be seen. But the general consensus still remains: While autonomous vehicles are bound to make certain jobs obsolete, they won’t be destroying industries. Rather, they will be forcing a shift in responsibilities and will actually create jobs. And, as is the case in the aforementioned demonstration, they will simply exist to protect the necessary human counterparts from accidents.

Autonomy is an inevitable change that we won’t be able to escape. (And that we frankly shouldn’t be trying to escape.) We just have to make sure we’re flexible enough to adapt and evolve alongside technology.

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