Self-Driving Cars: Yea or Nay?
Posted On: 10/23/2017
We get asked a lot at WSL what we think about the future of self-driving cars. The concept itself is pretty exciting, but we’re not big fans of the idea…but probably not for the reasons you think.
It’s our business to get people to and from their destinations safely and in style. Assuming self-driving cars ever reach a development state where they are both reliable and secure, they could be a big disrupter to our business model.
Lots of tech companies are betting parts of their futures on this market. But, there are lots of hurdles in their way.
- The technology is complex and there are so many variables that need to be figured out before self-driving cars can safely navigate roads.
- Regulatory issues are still being developed to address this nascent technology and will likely be very strict. A recent bill in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to make the federal government the arbiter of self-driving cars, taking controls away from states.
“Under the bill, manufacturers seeking exemptions must demonstrate self-driving cars are at least as safe as existing vehicles. States could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but not performance standards.”
- The adoption curve will be steep before consumers feel comfortable giving up the wheel.
The Real Issue
Many are considering what’s next for professional car services in an age of self-driving cars. When we ponder the reality of a driverless car showing up at someone’s doorstep, what really bothers us is not what these future modes of transportation can do. Rather, it’s what they can’t do.
Without a professional driver at the helm, driverless cars can’t:
- Greet you by name and genuinely ask you how your day is going.
- Pet your dog who’s come to say goodbye.
- Hoist your luggage into the trunk.
- Give you advice about local eateries.
- Plan an alternate route in advance because there’s a parade on your route that doesn’t show up in mapping programs.
- Slow down on the way home from an event so you can see the full moon.
- Make sure there’s a cold bottle of water waiting for you on a hot day.
- Deliver your suitcases to your front door.
You get the idea. The thing that is missing from self-driving cars is the driver. And for WSL, that makes all the difference.