Americans have a fondness for tech in their vehicles these days, from ride-sharing apps to smart cars like the Tesla S. Driverless cars are arguably the pinnacle of vehicular technology that hasn’t quite happened yet—a sci-fi staple, they have yet to enter everyday reality. Last year, however, Newsweek recently ran an article predicting that driverless vehicles could very well become the norm in the near future, which led us to ask ourselves what that might mean for the ground transportation industry.
The article speculates that due to recent interest in driverless cars, roads full of hand-free vehicles aren’t too far away. In 2012, Google began testing driverless cars, and the company has suggested that they will become available to consumers by 2017. The increasingly popular Tesla is experimenting with car models that steer, change lanes and park without driver involvement, and “Vehicle Intelligence” was a highlight of last year’s Consumer Electronics show. According to Newsweek, these trends are enough evidence to suggest that American consumers will embrace driverless cars, which will in turn ease commutes and render public transportation obsolete. Though the article makes no mention of the ground transportation industry, we can easily extend its logic to taxis or luxury chauffeur service—why hire a chauffeured transportation company when you can call a driverless car, instead?
There are plenty of reasons why, actually. The Newsweek article bases its assertion that driverless cars will become so popular on the assumption that driverless cars remove human error, and thus remove mistakes. But the idea that driverless cars won’t make mistakes is, well, kind of ludicrous. Think about how many computer bugs you’ve encountered in your lifetime. Nearly everyone has experience a hard drive crash due to a software bug or code error: Why would vehicular technology be any different? In fact, this kind of vulnerability is already apparent in many of the “smart” cars out there. Tesla S vehicles have successfully hacked from a remote location, as have many other models of smart car (we wrote a blog examining this worrisome flaw last year).
And this is to say nothing of the vast difference in customer experience that would occur in a driverless vehicle. Such a thing might be convenient, but no matter how sophisticated, a driverless car can’t call you by name, handle your luggage, learn your preferences or offer the warmth and five-star hospitality that professional chauffeurs deliver to each of their guests. Although they might seem convenient, driverless cars, being an automated service, would eventually become no more special than a vending machine, whereas traveling with a professional, courteous chauffeur is an experiences that privileges your unique needs and human connection. Plus, chauffeurs like those at EmpireCLS are specially trained in high-level security, if needed, something that driverless cars are unlikely to fulfill.
A world full of nothing but driverless cars may be an entertaining fantasy, but when it comes to luxury transportation, our chauffeurs are going anywhere. Learn more at http://www.empirecls.com.
Photo Crdit: Mercedes-Benz