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Sixty per cent of UK small business owners believe embracing new technology is imperative for business growth, while four in ten say they would own an autonomous car in the future. These are just some of the statistics to emerge from a study of 1,000 people, says Plan Insurance Brokers managing director Ryan Georgiades…

One of the latest and most talked about new technologies is driverless cars, with global tech specialists such as Google & Apple competing, or working alongside many of the major vehicle manufacturers, in a bid to develop the best autonomous vehicle control solution. However, our survey shows there is a divide in opinion between small business owners and the general public in the UK, when it comes to intelligent computer-controlled automobiles, with SME bosses seeing more potential for growth in this area than consumers.

Ryan Georgiades, MD Plan Insurance

• Ryan Georgiades

When asked if they would be likely to own a driverless car, forty per cent of SME owners said yes, in comparison to just one in five British consumers. Furthermore, two thirds of the bosses questioned said they believe cars will be almost exclusively driverless in the future – whereas 90 per cent of the public don’t think it will be anywhere near as widespread

With the cab trade being earmarked as one of the industries where the introduction of driverless technology could potentially have huge implications (in either a positive or negative way, depending on your view point), survey respondents were asked whether they thought the cab trade would, at some point, be driver-free in the future. Almost 60 per cent of SME owners felt it would, which was in stark contrast to the opinion of the general public, of whom 68 per cent questioned if it would ever happen at all.

Driverless-Taxi-graphic

• Many SME owners believe cabs will be driverless

And the disparities don’t stop there either. When it comes to new technology in general over sixty per cent of British small business owners said that they felt it was vital to keep up with the latest innovations in order for their company to survive. Over half (55 per cent) actively keep tabs on technological developments, as opposed to a third of consumers in general.

British business owners don’t only just take an interest in the latest gadgets and gizmo’s  – they are also willing to invest their hard-earned money in it. One such company, CJH of Shottery Ltd, an executive passenger car transport business, took the plunge last year and replaced its entire fleet of cars with the Tesla S – a 100 per cent fully electric vehicle. Managing director, David Herdman, says the benefits to the business have been significant and include:

  • 35 per cent job increase in 2015
  • excellent economy per charge – approx. 260 – 270 miles per tank
  • 100 per cent tax relief against their corporation tax
  • future proof protection against the ULEZ charge

David said:

I am the first chauffeur company in my town to offer a 100 per cent electric vehicle. This has increased my turnover with new customers wanting an environmentally friendly option to travel. It has also been received very well with existing corporate clients and new ones interested in their own carbon footprint as a company

Whilst not suggesting all British SME owners are trailblazers, our study shows that many think it pays dividends to stay alert to new scientific inventions. Given that we live in such fast moving tech-driven times, that doesn’t seem a bad strategy.

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PHC Magazine

PHC Magazine