This site depends on JavaScript to run. Please enable it or upgrade to a modern browser that supports it.

ASCM Insights

Shifting Gears: How AVs Will Transform Supply Chains


If you spend a lot of time in your car, you’ve probably discovered a few ways to hack your drive: You might listen to audiobooks or podcasts, use Bluetooth to chat with friends, put Duolingo on story mode to master a new language, or even reach maximum productivity by dictating emails and attending conference calls. Many people — hopefully in a safe manner — can turn a car into a veritable cubicle on wheels.

But now, consider what you could do if you didn’t have to drive at all. I’m not talking about taking public transportation; but rather, actually getting around in an autonomous vehicle (AV). Despite some notable accidents that have plagued the major car brands, the technology is improving every day; in fact, some self-driving cars in the form of robot taxis and shuttles have already rolled out, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Interestingly, the next generation of AVs probably won’t look much like the cars we’re used to: Smartphone and tablet technology is being integrated into dashboards, for instance; massive video screens are becoming standard; and soon even holographic technology will be included. “Prototype designers are experimenting with interiors that break all the rules,” the Journal article continues. “Once a car no longer needs a human driver, the room inside can be designed as a lounge or an office with a desk.” For example, Audi’s concept car has forward-facing front seats that can swivel during the drive to allow eye contact with passengers in the back.

Fortunately for the other cars on the road, “the federal government, which has been slow to complete comprehensive regulations for automated driving systems, is mulling proposed standards for self-driving commercial vehicles,” Roll Call reports. The rules would regulate training, certification and physical qualifications of the operators of AVs, even if they’re not the ones driving, and would prevent companies from operating vehicles remotely.

Buckle up for a visionary ride

As there’s no country-wide rule for personal AVs yet, individual states and cities are working to address safety concerns. Meanwhile, the trucking bill currently on the table could jumpstart conversations about what is necessary in an AV (an operator) and what is not (a steering wheel?). This month on The reBound podcast,  my cohost Bob Trebilcock and I interviewed Aaron Campbell, the go-to-market and partnerships lead for the Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Truck North America. We explored self-driving trucks in supply chain and the resulting bottlenecks and benefits. Listen in on what the experts are saying about the future of the AV market and discover strategies for successfully integrating AV technology into your supply chain while meeting regulations. Give it a listen on your next drive, and steer your supply chain toward the autonomous future.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through