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Thread: Airlines are about to get disrupted

  1. #1
    Registered User witchcraftz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Vancouver, BC

    Finger Airlines are about to get disrupted

    In much the same way Uber and Lyft changed the taxi industry, driverless cars could change the airline industry.

    As driverless cars become more capable and more common, they will change people’s travel habits not only around their own communities but across much larger distances. Research has revealed just how much people’s travel preferences could shift and found a new potential challenge to the current airline industry.

    Airline passengers are now charged for many of the amenities that were once free such as checking luggage, onboard snacks, selecting seats, and boarding order. Airport security has also been tightened to require most passengers to remove shoes, electronics, and liquids before going through the security process.

    Imagine someone who lives in Atlanta and needs to travel to Washington, D.C., for business. A flight takes about two hours without delays. Add to that the drive to the airport, checking in ahead of time, the security line, and waiting at the gate. Upon arrival in D.C., it may take another 30 minutes to pick up any checked bags and a rental car - and even more time to drive from the airport to the specific destination. The average person estimates a total travel time of four to five fours. This same trip is about a 10-hour drive.

    For trips of less than 6 hours, it can be just as quick to drive than fly. However, driving is stressful and results in hours of unproductivity and focus on driving. Most people would choose to fly instead of driving.

    However, the future implementation of driverless vehicles could result in significant shifts to travel preferences for transportation.

    If people could have a fully driverless car take them there, the choice changes. They could leave whenever they want and pack whatever they want - including liquids - with time wasted at the airport on check-in, searches or scans, passengers would be able to eat, drink, work, play and sleep during the drive. When they get to the destination, they wouldn’t have to find a rental car and navigate to the actual place they’re going. Now imagine the self-driving car makes full use of the interior space and has reclining seats with ample legroom, or even beds. It’s more than a little tempting.

    In a study, people were showed trips of different lengths and asked to choose whether they would rather drive themselves, take a flight, or ride in a self-driving car.

    In general, the data indicated that people always preferred driverless vehicles over driving themselves. On short trips, with a five-hour drive, 60% of people would rather drive or use a self-driving car, unless they were told they would need a car in their destination city. Then nearly 80% of people preferred a car to flying.

    As trips got longer, people were increasingly likely to prefer flying. On the longest trips, with a 45-hour drive, only about 10% people preferred driving themselves – but that changed to 30% when they had the option to use a self-driving car.

    Driverless cars could impact the airline industry in many ways. First, they could contract the industry if people prefer to take cars over flying. For many airlines, their network structure consists of funneling a number of flights into a hub, moving passengers, and then sending people back out to the spokes in the network. For passengers that live within 4-5 hours of the hub, they may just decide to use a driverless vehicle to travel to the hub instead of purchasing and completing the spoke part of the itinerary.

    Examples such as this could have a cascading effect.

    Airlines will have to reduce the number of flights per day due to lack of customers, which could create snowball effects of pushing even more passengers to driverless vehicles because their flight choices are not as flexible as they once were.

    If the spokes become reduced, airlines may have to focus on transcontinental and international flights, which are not yet feasible for driverless cars.

    Another disruptor coming fast is the flying driverless car. At a conference in Dallas in April 2017 rideshare giant Uber laid out a vision for taking its business to the skies. Pilot programs in Dallas and Los Angeles are scheduled to begin in 2020.

    Aerospace titan Airbus has two flying-car related projects, including its all-electric VTOL, Vahana. Boeing has acquired or invested in several companies that are developing technologies to enable a flying-car future and in January announced a new cargo vehicle that will be a test bed for autonomous flight systems.

    These changes could substantially change the aviation industry, with airlines ordering fewer airplanes from manufacturers, airports seeing fewer daily flights and lower revenue from parking lots, and even airport hotels hosting fewer guests.

    If a much more significant percentage of the flying public moves to driverless vehicles, then the entire industry could see a contraction similar to what happened to the rail system when interstates became ubiquitous. The future of driverless cars is appealing to consumers – which means the future of commercial flight is in danger.

    William Gibson said: “The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed”

  2. #2
    Scrapes BaggedGLI's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: Airlines are about to get disrupted

    And then it snows and there's 300 cars in the ditch with people needing to be rescued.
    Calgary Autoworks

    2004.5 Jetta GLI
    2005 Audi Allroad
    2002 VW Passat 1.8t

  3. #3
    The Godfather Canadian Turbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default Re: Airlines are about to get disrupted

    Hahaha Colin, I am sure it will be less a factor in other places. Perhaps this will actually make airlines raise their standards, especially in North America, air travel there is ridiculous and horrible. My travel experiences are usually great until I have to make that transfer off my international flight, maybe a car there would work but I think Vancouver to Calgary would still be a pain in an autonomous car.
    Former Cars: '12 Fiat 500, '10 VW GTI, '05 Smart Fortwo, '96 VW Jetta GLX, '02 VW GTI 337.........

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