31pc of drivers fear robot replacement

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31 per cent of van and delivery drivers think their role could be lost to automation or robots in the next five years.

That’s according to a new report by Mercedes-Benz Vans, which also found that almost one in five van drivers, owners and operators are so concerned about skills shortages, they fear it could prevent their business operating in the next 12 months.

70 per cent of respondents said their organisation has at least one urgent skills gap or shortage, with the most urgent shortages including vehicle engineers/technicians, skilled drivers and transport/distribution staff.
Steve Bridge, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “Autonomous drive technology and drone deliveries are moving from science fiction to hard fact in the future, so the industry needs to have serious conversations to establish the various options and possibilities that could happen within the next five to 10 years and how they need to adapt accordingly.

“While robots might not necessarily replace jobs, the industry needs to look at upskilling and reskilling workers to ensure that they are equipped to deal with the ever-changing and highly pressurised demands on the delivery business.

“This is such an important sector as it quite literally keeps the wheels of business turning, so needs to proper level of investment, both in infrastructure, but also in people. Our Business Barometer clearly shows there is the potential for a major problem in the next few years, so all options need to be explored.”

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