What will drive the white van man off Britain’s roads first?


So here’s what I worry about: will the cost of van insurance raise so high that it becomes unaffordable, or will technology kill the white van man first?

And let’s make no mistake – the cost of car insurance and van insurance is going to increase, especially if you look at the toll that fraud takes on insurance companies. In fact, a new study from the Association of British Insurers found that there was £811 million in fraudulent motor insurance claims last year, and that figure is just going up and up with no end in sight. This of course gives insurers a perfect excuse to raise rates for every one of its customers, whether they’re just motoring about in their Vauxhall Astra or if they have commercial van insurance to keep their business running.

Then again, I also wonder if rampant technological achievements are going to destroy the market for lorry drivers as well. The research into driverless vehicles is coming along at an astounding rate, and not just with companies like Google with their automated robot cars that drive about everywhere – a new report revealed that Milton Keynes will have driverless vehicles on its roadways by 2017.

So tell me: who’s going to need to work as a van driver if these vans can drive themselves? Not only that but who’s going to risk employing a fallible human driver when you can simply use a computer programme that will obey all traffic laws and drive much more safely than a person? At least they haven’t automated the process for loading and unloading vans and lorries yet – right now that’s still done by hand, even if you need a forklift truck to do the heavy lifting, there’s still a human element behind the wheel guiding it.

Of course the other downside is the same one you see in most Hollywood movies nowadays: with all these computer controlled vehicles, what happens if they end up networking together in some Skynet-like artificial intelligence and end up enslaving us all? How am I supposed to go down to the local pub if my car won’t let me in without talking sweetly to it and promising to get it washed that afternoon? Will there be a Ford Cylon coming out next year, complete with a malevolent, oscillating red light bent on the destruction of the human race? This why I don’t sleep at night any more.

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