How can this - replace this?
I was just looking back at a previous post, listing a number of things that will be seriously affected by the future deployment of Driverless vehicles.
This was by no means a definitive list and there will I am sure be many more things that will come out "in the wash" as things (rapidly) progress.
The one on the list that really hits me is largely due to its financial value. Money isn't everything of course, and one of the key reasons we look seriously at driverless cars and vehicles is due to the increased safety and the corresponding reduction in deaths and injuries.
But the reason I am looking again at this topic is monetary, because the value concerned is so huge. It will be seriously looked at, if not already, by the big airlines and booking agencies, because of the massive lost revenue at stake. I am talking once again about the impact of the Self driving car on the domestic airline flight market.
Official statistics now show that every day, around 2 million passengers fly on a domestic type flight. Some of these flights can be less than 500 miles, for example. L.A. to San Francisco (300 miles), Denver to Salt lake City (375) Dallas to Kansas (490), Atlanta to Washington (520) These distances may be too long for some to consider driving in a normal car there and back in a day, (or over two days for some) as we would need a break in between, adding too much to the standard road journey time. But this type of journey is within easy striking distance of the driverless vehicle that doesn't need to rest, allowing us to eat and sleep during transportation.
The other thing to consider is not just the journey time, but the travel time to the airport and the often lengthy check in time, security, baggage collection etc. All this already adds up to many hours, before you even get airborne.
And then there is the actual total cost to consider. A 500 mile car journey, would only cost about 75 USD in fuel. Additionally you would also save the airport charges of the Reservation fee $10, Baggage charge $15 and travel insurance $10 totalling another $35. (also you could take more baggage in your car). And a huge plus - the car will take 4 or 5 people at no extra cost per person.
A very rough estimate of the total Domestic Airline ticket value under threat worldwide by my humble calculation is:
2 Million passengers a day x a (low) average of 100 dollars a ticket = 6 Billion dollars a Month or over 72 Billion dollars a year.
Of course nobody is suggesting this is all under threat. Some domestic flights in the USA may average a round trip of over 2000 miles, not your usual journey in any type of car, driverless or otherwise. But some of the shorter domestic flights are very much on the radar of the Self driving car journey.
The estimates used above may be just that, estimates, but the figures are still huge and it it begs the question: Will the Airline industry try to hinder the Autonomous vehicle era or invest in it?