Self-driving Cars Could Disrupt Airlines and the Rental Rental Car Industry

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How Autonomous Cars Could Disrupt Airlines and Car Rental Agencies

Autonomous cars - a disruptive technology

Airlines, hotels and the rental car sectors are very closely related but there will be huge changes and transitions in these sectors over the next few decades.

Analysts are predicting that with the rise of autonomous vehicles it will bring many changes to the way car rental companies, hotels and airlines operate.

The car rental industry has already been massively disrupted by the rise of ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft.

These ride-share companies will be the pioneers of autonomous driver pickups at airports, hotels, and really anywhere an autonomous car can be programmed to go.

If for example, companies like Uber can offer you autonomous driving pick up why will people continue to rent a car?

It may not seem like a threat at this time but car rental companies are keenly aware of the threat.

Companies such as Hertz are starting to work with companies like Apple as well as rideshare providers as they see the possibility of them being left behind if they don’t change with the times.

In a similar manner, Alphabet’s self-driving company, Waymo announced it will be using Avis car rental company to manage its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans in the US.

How Autonomous Cars Could Disrupt Airlines and Car Rental Agencies
When it comes to airlines, well many people are tired of the long waits for security checks and pat-downs, so having access alternative transport with autonomous vehicles is an option.

If you have access an autonomous car, why would you fly to an airport 400 miles or less away?

We live on an island here so for many of us airlines are the only option but in places like continental Europe and the USA, many will consider the autonomous option in the future.

In 2015, the vice president of brand strategy and digital business at Audi, Sven Schuwirth went so far as to predict the end of domestic flights with the coming of autonomous cars that can morph between driving and sleeping mode.

If you take, also the real possibility of autonomous flying cars as well, you can really see how airlines could be at risk.

For example, for someone living in a city like Los Angeles in the USA who wants to travel to San Francisco, which is an eight-hour drive, versus about an hour for the flight.

A person may reason that added to that one hour flight, an hour to get to the airport, an hour to get through security and onto the plane, the flight time itself, and another hour to get from the airport to their final destination is over four hours at least.  With an autonomous car, you could skip the four-hour flight marathon, leave at 11 PM and arrive at 7 AM after sleeping safely in their autonomous car.

(As always, if you or a family member are considering buying a used car, don’t buy until you run a car check report with where you will find out the true history of the vehicle.)


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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