Many consider autonomous vehicles (also known as self-driving cars) to be future of motor travel. However, could these driverless vehicles affect the private taxi hire industry?

How Do Driverless Cars Work?
In order to control a car without a driver, numerous systems are required. Different manufacturers of driverless cars utilise different items of technology in order to create a self-driving system, for example in the Google Car, eight sensors are use in order to detect the world around it. One of which is the LIDAR which is a rotating camera fixed on the top of the vehicle’s roof. This camera allows it to detect hazards at a range of 200m.

How Could Driverless Cars Impact The Taxi Industry?

  • A Reduction In Demand

It is possible that driverless cars could cause a reduction in demand for professional taxi drivers. After all, what will happen to drivers when the car goes driverless?

However, other forms of automation have moved into our 21st century world without completely removing the human element, such as self-checkout systems in retail businesses. As such, it's not unreasonable to suggest that the same could have in the taxi industry. After all whilst some people may indeed prefer to travel in an automated vehicle, others will prefer the human touch that a taxi driver can offer.

This suggests that, whilst there could be a reduction in demand for private taxi services, it's not set in stone. Some might argue that technology is not here to replace humans; it is here to assist us.

  • The Industry Could Diversify

The taxi industry could adapt to in order to make changes with technology. For example, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities that taxi businesses could move into the automated vehicle industry. For example, in New Zealand, there is a self-flying air taxi service which can travel at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour and is able to both land and take off vertically. When released to the public, the success of the method of transportation could inspire other private vehicle hire businesses to make changes to their services.

Many taxi firms have already made adjustments to their business activities with regards to technology. For example, here at Loddon Cars we have a taxi app that allows you to book taxis using your Smartphone.

  • What About Drinking And Driving?

It’s also worth considering the reasons why people choose to book taxis.

Currently when people go out to bars or clubs, they often book taxi travel home. However this poses the question, would passengers of automated cars be able to ride whilst under the influence of alcohol, after all they wouldn’t be in command of a vehicle? This question is discussed on popularmechanics.com, some suggest that there may come a time when passengers of self-driving cars are able to enjoy alcoholic beverages; however there are also arguments against this.

This means that with regards to pre-booked taxis for events where alcohol is likely to be consumed, a taxi service could see a future; even if self-driving cars become the norm for personal travel.

  • A Change In The Industry

Another reason why some people choose to book private travel is for the experience. As such, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that there may be an increase in the amount of chauffeuring services requested. An AI might be able to replicate the experience of a simple transportation service from A to B, or replicate a bus route, however could artificial intelligence in a self driving vehicle truly replicate the experience of being chauffeured, or would be merely be a close imitation?

Why Go Driverless – What Are The Advantages Of Self-Driving Cars?

With regards to driverless cars, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to a driverless future. For example, driverless cars could help to cause a reduction in traffic jams, due to how traffic jams are caused. Some types of traffic jams are caused because of accidents, road works, or other issues on the road, however some are seemingly caused for no reason at all. This type of traffic jam is known as a phantom traffic jam.

A phantom traffic jam can be caused on a motorway or dual carriageway by a driver changing lanes, which cause the driver behind to reduce their speed, starting a chain reaction moving backwards that results in somebody stopping. This chain reaction is sometimes called a traffic snake. Driverless cars would be able to use radar technology to maintain equal distance from the vehicle in front and behind, thus reducing the impact that these traffic snakes could have.

However, traffic snakes can be caused by a wide variety of different factors. Another example is traffic lights. When moving through traffic lights, drivers are forced to come to a stop, this stop can cause a traffic snake to appear, which could cause a future traffic jam; if the snake is long enough, it could cause gridlock. However, in the future if self-driving car technology improves, it’s not unreasonable to imagine a world without traffic lights in which cars communicate with each other using radar technology to maintain equal distance. CPG Grey discusses this possibility in his post “The Simple Solution to Traffic”.

Would You Like To Book A Taxi?

If you don’t want to drive yourself, unfortunately driverless cars are not yet the norm. However, the talented team of taxi drivers at Loddon Cars will be happy to fulfil your transportation needs, taking you from A to B in a relaxing car journey. You can even book your taxi via our app which is available for both iPhone and Android devices.

Get In Touch With Our Team

However, if you would prefer to book a taxi over the telephone, you can speak to a member of staff by calling 01189321 32. Alternatively you could book via our website by clicking on the green BOOK NOW button on the top right of the browser, or book via email, our email address is bookings@loddoncars.com.

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