In these unprecedented times, we find ourselves inundated with a significant amount of negative news. At the time of writing this, according to the CDC, there are over 160,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,800 deaths in the US, and this amount is only rising. It’s hard to see through the negativity to get through to the positive stories, but there are some bright spots such as businesses and communities prioritizing health and safety, neighbors helping each other out, and some municipalities implementing virtual inspections to make sure that vital construction can continue. Another big positive that we noticed is how new technology like electric and autonomous vehicles (EV and AV respectively) can have a positive impact on the future
In the past, we’ve written about the benefits of EVs and in an odd way, today’s circumstances provide a look into what a future with ubiquitous EVs could hold. For one, we are starting to hear about how pollution levels are down in cities as more people are working from home and factories close down. As we wrote about, pure EVs emit no harmful gases and pollutants and would help to reduce pollution levels when the world returns to normal work life. We have also noticed how much quieter cities have become with fewer vehicles on the road which would be similar to a world with more EVs because of much less noise pollution compared to ICE vehicles.
In times of crisis, we may see our government be more flexible and this may allow the acceleration of innovation. For example, this could be an opportunity for grocers to push further for the development of AV assisted deliveries. A company out of Bejing called Neolix has claimed that the pandemic has caused a boost in sales of its delivery bots. This autonomous grocery delivery could cut down on crowded grocery stores and may prevent the hoarding of necessities like water and toilet paper. Some people would argue that toilet paper isn’t necessary to hoard, but the grocery store shelves around the US might tell you otherwise.
AVs would also help overcome the driver shortage and logistical nightmare we are seeing with freight transportation. AVs transporting medical supplies to hospitals would allow oversight to be remote and would reduce human interaction. At EPG, we’ve even seen how self-driving technology controlling the movement of containers in shipping yards are doing their own part in getting critical supplies delivered faster. We believe AVs can play a vital role in improving people’s lives if implemented in a safe and correct manner.
In the days of 24/7 news, we often need a little dose of positivity. The world will get through this pandemic and although it may be hard to believe, some good things will come from it. We hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy around the world!