The Economic Impact of Autonomous Vehicles in the Logistics Industry

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (CeLS); Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (CeLS)

Abstract: In an ever-changing industry where competition between actors is growing, technical improvements and investments can be a way to outperform competitors and gain competitiveadvantages. In a relatively under-developed industry, technological developments may leadto major improvements and change the layout of the whole business. Purpose – The main purpose of this thesis is to investigate potential cost reductions obtained by autonomous vehicles within the Swedish logistics industry. Studying opportunities for companies tostrengthen their competitive advantage can create new markets, chances or ensure a strongmarket position. To investigate said opportunities, the following research questions werestated: What is the actual cost of implementing an autonomous vehicle? Which costs will be affected by an implementation of autonomous vehicles? How do these costs impact the Swedish logistics market seen from a cost perspective? Method – The data necessary to answer the questions was collected from document studies, literature studies and interviews. These were carried out simultaneously in an iterativeprocess. Moreover, a pragmatic philosophy was undertaken, together with an abductive approach. The data was compared with existing theory by pattern matching and analysed withthematic approach, in order to ensure the level of trustworthiness. Findings/Implications – The findings of this thesis is that autonomous vehicles willheavily impact the logistics industry. By gradually implementing autonomous vehicles, theSwedish logistics sector can save upwards of 13,4 billion SEK between 2020 and 2030.This shift towards autonomous vehicles will move jobs from the long haul sector to urbanlogistics and telecommunications. Additionally, the society will see great benefits as 90% ofall traffic accidents will not happen when all vehicles are autonomous. It is clear that theSwedish logistics industry will benefit from an implementation of autonomous vehicles.Simultaneously it will also be beneficial for the society and the Swedish welfare. Limitations – The major limitation of this thesis is the time horizon. Because of being future oriented, much data was based on external estimations that might change over time.Moreover, only costs directly connected to transportations has been investigated, leavingroom for further studies related to indirect costs, as well as the organizational impacts onfuture supply chains.

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