How can that – replace that?
I was just going back to a previous article, 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’m sure be a lot more coming out “in the wash” as things progress (rapidly).
The one on the list that really strikes me is largely due to its financial value. Money isn’t everything, of course, and one of the main reasons we’re taking a serious look at cars and driverless vehicles is the increased safety and corresponding reduction in fatalities and injuries.
But the reason I’m looking at this again is monetary, because the value involved is so huge. It will be seriously considered, if not already, by major airlines and booking agencies, due to the massive loss of revenue at stake. Again, I’m talking about the impact of the self-driving car on the domestic flight market.
Official statistics now show that every day around 2 million passengers travel on a domestic-type flight. Some of these flights may be less than 500 miles, for example. LA 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 round trip in one day (or more than two days for some) as we would need a break in between which would add too much to the time of standard road trip. But this type of ride is within reach of the driverless vehicle that does not need to rest, allowing us to eat and sleep during transport.
The other thing to consider is not just the travel time, but the travel time to the airport and the often long check-in time, security, baggage collection, etc. All this already represents many hours, even before taking off.
And then there’s the actual total cost to consider. A car trip of 800 km would only cost about 75 USD in fuel. Plus, you’ll also save the airport charges of $10 reservation fee, $15 baggage fee, and $10 travel insurance totaling an additional $35. (you can also take more luggage 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 value of endangered domestic airline tickets worldwide by my humble calculation is:
2 million passengers per day x a (low) average of $100 per ticket = $6 billion per month or more 72Billions of dollars a year.
Of course, no one is suggesting that all of this is in jeopardy. Some US domestic flights can average over 2,000 miles round trip, which is not your typical commute in any type of car, driverless or otherwise. But some of the shorter domestic flights are very much on the self-driving travel radar.
The estimates used above may be just that, estimates, but the numbers are still huge and it begs the question: will the airline industry try to hinder the era of autonomous vehicles or to invest in it?
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