Mercedes: operators fear driver shortage, drivers fear robots

New research by Mercedes-Benz Vans suggests that 31% of van and delivery drivers fear they will lose their jobs to robots in the next five years.

The Mercedes research also found that on he other hand that one in five van drivers, owners and operators are concerned that skill shortages could prevent their businesses from operating in the next year.

70% of respondents to the Mercedes survey said that their organisation has at least one major skills gap or shortage. The dos urgent shortages are vehicle engineers / technicians, skilled drivers and transport and 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 up-skilling and re-skilling 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.”