Self-driving Cars: Will They Change The World For Eventprofs?
Cars that can drive without a human in the driver’s seat have been in development for almost a century. With automakers pledging to have fully autonomous cars on the road by 2020, increasing productivity and limiting the number of accidents – what could this mean for event planners?
Long before this transportation revolution became a reality – and not just something you’d see in a Sci-Fi movie – things like the airplane and elevator went through similar technological shifts and are now seen as normal.
These things that are part of everyday life went from being completely manually operated to now having computers do most of the work, and cars are fast-moving in the same direction.
These large-scale changes are present and active in areas of the world. For example, Google’s driverless cars have been on the roads in Mountain View, California for a few years; Uber have been developing self-driving research and technology in Pittsburgh with self-driven rides and Tesla has been working on electric, self-driving trucks that can travel in ‘platoons’ capable of following a lead vehicle.
As stepping stones towards a self-driving future, technology features have gradually been increasing in cars over the years, including combinations of sonar, radar and camera image recognition to see surrounding cars and objects:
- Parking assistance
- Active cruise control
- Front collision assistance
- Lane-departure warning
- Blind-spot warning
While the current use of technologies in cars are helping with the ease of driving, the adoption of driverless cars could bring about more changes than you might expect. Here are some of the major ways self-driving cars could transform the world:
Yes, the thought of cars literally driving themselves is scary. You might even wonder how this could limit the number of accidents on the road. However, these computers are designed and built to optimize efficiency in acceleration, speed variation and braking.
According to a study by Eno Centre for Transportation, if about 90% of cars on American roads were autonomous, the number of accidents would fall from six million a year to 1.3 million, and auto-related deaths would fall from 33,000 to 11,300.
Not only is it argued that these autonomous cars will help increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, but the precision of the computers running the cars are being built to be far superior to human motor skills, coordination, and reactive ability, thus having the potential to dramatically reduce the number of accidents on the road.
Event planners can sleep easy, knowing that in the future, attendees and delegates can be brought in mass to their events, not only on time but safely.
Sustainability is always a hot topic in events. We’re always asking what are the biggest event sustainability problems, and how do we start to solve them?
As well as changing consumers’ traveling habits, encouraging them to trade in ownership of their cars for sharing taxi fleets, autonomous cars are being designed help reduce carbon emissions.
According to McKinsey, the use of autonomous cars could help reduce car CO2 emissions by as much as 300 million tons per year. The result of a cleaner planet is being worked towards with the gradual reduction of changes in car design, petroleum-based fuel and processes in manufacturing.
We all know that time spent in traffic is wasted time. It is often the bane of our lives, especially if as event planners, we’re on our way to that important meeting with a client, waiting for a delivery or our attendees are affected.
According to a study by Morgan Stanley, autonomous vehicles could mean productivity gains of $507 billion annually in the US alone, which is music to an eventprof’s ears.
Pilots, for example, use autopilot 99% of the time, allowing pilots to focus on other issues and factors such as navigating and approaching weather. Prior to this autonomous process, constant attention was required to keep the plane on a straight, safe course.
Worldwide time saved everyday by driverless cars could total as much as one billion hours, according to McKinsey. One day, we could be continuing to work ‘on the go’ or even take that well-earned break, while the car drives itself.
There are reports that driverless fleets will be on the roads in years to come, which means potentially never having to search for a parking space again because these fleets will drop you off at your desired location. Could this be the future of getting attendees to your event? Will this take the fuss and cost out of venue car parks for your visitors?
If you have own driverless car, this could take out the pressure of not only finding a space but also parking yourself, because the car will locate a space and park itself.
Are There Any Problems?
It’s true that this transportation revolution is upon us and it’s exciting, but there is still so much that we don’t know about yet. These systems are only as good as the information input by the driver. Here are some of the potential problems facing the world with these driverless cars:
- Job losses. Although this driving boom has created numerous high-skilled engineering jobs, what happens to those who rely on driving for a living? According to a report from Goldman Sachs Economics Research, US drivers could see job losses at a rate of 25,000 a month, or 300,000 a year.
- Health issues. Although self-driving cars will enable the elderly and those with disabilities to be more mobile and travel well, fitness, health and attention span could decline if we solely rely on these cars driving themselves.
- A hacker’s dream. Will these new cars be prone to hacking? Will our data be secure in these car computers? More information needs to be released on security issues.
From reduced carbon emissions to productivity gains, autonomous cars are the future. There are a lot of ways these cars can not only affect the event industry, but also the ease of our personal lives.
However, while self-driving cars are one of the most disruptive trends we’ll be dealing with over the next couple of decades and their potential is exciting, there is still a long way to go until we fully understand their capability and benefits.
Do you think they will change the face of events?
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