How Self-Driving Cars Will Disrupt The Hospitality Industry

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The Future Is Speeding Towards Us

There has been a lot of buzz around autonomous car technology. From the advancements shown by Tesla, Ford, and other auto manufacturers to the ongoing tests by Waymo, we are seeing self-driving cars speeding towards reality faster than ever before.

Just a decade ago driverless cars seemed like a sci-fi fantasy that we could only dream about and shown in futuristic movies. If the autonomous revolution lives up to expectations set by futurists and transportation experts, then the emerging technology will have an impact on all aspects of how we live.

For all intensive purposes, autonomous vehicles have existed for several years if we consider the use of cameras and other tools that assist drivers complete tasks on the road. Rear cameras have helped drivers with parallel parking, and blind spot detection has helped keep the streets safer since 2007.

Technology has seen a significant improvement since the early days, and now that manufacturers understand how to improve performance they are able to move applications forward. The transition towards autonomous cars will impact many areas of our economy, and this new technology will affect all aspects of our economy.

Not only will mass transit and city development look different, but a wide range of industries will also be changed as they adapt to a world made of robotic cars that don’t require human operators.

Robots Taking The Driver’s Seat

Since computers will replace human operators, these driving robotic cars will rely on advanced technologies to navigate public roads. Using a combination of technologies like computer vision, onboard cameras, and GPS, self-driving cars will need to process a massive amount of data to understand their surroundings.

Instead of relying on a single data source, autonomous cars will overlay input from cameras with mapping technology to direct vehicles along the best path available. At the same time, self-driving vehicles will communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure to predict the moves of their surroundings to know when they should stop or maneuver when on the roads.

While autonomous cars will implement some technologies, there are also different levels to measure autonomous vehicles based on their capabilities.

  • Level Zero- No Automation: Traditional cars where human drivers perform all tasks.
  • Level One- Driver Assistance: Some vehicle assistance like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assisting. While there are onboard assistance technologies, the driver is required to control the car at all times.
  • Level Two- Partial Automation: The car is able to help with speed control, steering, and basic driving tasks while in operation.
  • Level Three- Conditional Automation: At this level, vehicles are able to operate themselves under ideal conditions with the limited input of human drivers.
  • Level Four- High Automation: Level four automation allows cars to control themselves without any human input at any point of the drive in most conditions. Waymo is working on technology to enable this level of automation in Michigan, Arizona, and California.
  • Level Five- Full Automation: At this level cars will be able to drive themselves in all conditions and will not need human input. These cars will also be designed without a steering wheel or pedals.

Technical advancements have opened new opportunities for engineers, and the primary goal of self-driving cars is to provide safer and more convenient transportation for human passengers. Since cars will be able to communicate with each other experts, believe the roads will become much more reliable and reduce traffic accidents in the future.

Implementing futuristic technologies in vehicles is meant to remove human error while also achieving a system to help cars understand their surroundings so travel is more efficient for the general public.

How Will Autonomous Cars Impact The Hotel Industry?

As cars move towards level five automation, we can expect that future vehicles should make traveling cheaper and less stressful. This will mean that more people will take longer road trips since they will not have to pay attention to the road as they travel to their destination.

More travelers taking longer trips should be a blessing to the hotel industry, but there will be some lodging solutions that will not see the benefit of this travel trend.

Hotels that will benefit from the rise of self-driving cars will be the thousands of hotels at favorite locations like beaches, cities, and ski resorts. These hotels should see longer booking windows and more inventory filled throughout the year since more people will be able to take staycations while enjoying time with family and friends.

Travel experts believe that roadside motels will see negative impacts from self-driving cars since these lodging options are meant to accommodate travelers en route to their final destination. Instead of stopping at a hotel for a night as they go to their goal, travelers will be able to sleep in their vehicles as the cars drive themselves safely throughout the night.

Autonomous vehicles will become convenient substitutes for staycations and other short trips, and passengers will not need to worry about where they will sleep during their drive to a final destination.

Car manufacturers will likely create particular types of car interiors that owners can either change on the fly or buy specific cars to meet individual needs. For example, car interiors could come with sleep mode and meeting modes where the seats can be repositioned based on the occupant’s needs.

A Shift In The Future Of Travel

Self-driving cars will impact many industries, and we will see some benefits across the board as this technology continue to be integrated into our daily lives. Everything from parking spaces, real estate, and trucking will be influenced by autonomous vehicle technologies.

One way that autonomous cars will impact our economy is also in how we experience road trips throughout the year. Instead of relying on roadside motels, autonomous vehicles will provide the means for travelers to continue their journey throughout the night as the autonomous car drives itself safely and efficiently.

We will have to keep an eye open to how this technology advances and hotels around the world will need to prepare for this emerging market!

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Author: Chris Giarratana

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy and PPC management consultant in Orlando, FL. He develops marketing strategies for small businesses, researches emerging technologies, and enjoys studying transportation issues.

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