The Chauffeur Of the Future

Posted on November 14, 2014 by

The LA Auto Show is having a special Connected Car Expo next Tuesday through Thursday, and one thing I’m interested in learning more about is the latest driverless or autonomous technology to be discussed.

Talk of driverless cars is presently treated like science fiction I think among limo industry professionals, and it’s true that the technology has a long way to go. This article from MIT’s Technology Review does a pretty good job addressing the serious challenges developers face in bringing safe and functional autonomous driving to the masses. Experts differ on when this technology will be feasibly ready for market, with some saying it will take 50 years, and others predicting only five years or so.

But it’s worth noting that in May of this year Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick openly expressed his desire to transition the company to a driverless fleet as soon as the technology is available. And Google, Tesla, BMW, Audi, and more are investing in driverless capabilities.

The commoditization of transportation is a threat to limo services, because as so many operators will say, at the end of the day, it’s a people business. Anyone can have a nice car and be on time, but the small differences in customer service, and being there at the terminal to assist with luggage, are what sets limo services apart from taxis and now TNCs.

Chauffeurs are a significant operating cost. They’re training and professionalism carry the brand of the company on each trip, and as such inefficient or dangerous driving behavior is a big liability. These costs would be reduced dramatically with a self-driving vehicle, but for an up-scale transportation company to differentiate, they will still need a human body to assist the travelers.

At least until there are robots to help with that.

Happy Friday everyone.

— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

July 25, 2017

"Does No Smoking Mean Weed Too?"

What's the response to that question now that more states are legalizing recreational use of marijuana?

July 18, 2017

Getting It Wrong On Uber’s Return To Austin

See Exhibit A on the misleading spin the limousine industry faces when exposing the unfairness of TNCs.

July 18, 2017

Comic Conventions Can Be A Geeky Goldmine

It’s time to tap into your inner nerd and expand past traditional tradeshow group transportation.

July 6, 2017

Welcoming All Back To The New LCT Blog

JIM LUFF: I'm not retired, tired, or tuned out. Just immersing in other areas of the industry.

March 8, 2017

Immigration Issues Can Hit Limo Operators

Illegal or not, immigrants in one California region spend hard-earned money on renting stretch limousines.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - August 2017 $12.95 MILLENNIALS/FAST 40 ISSUE COVER STORY: * How to Score & Keep The Best Young Talent * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close