The Future of Transportation and its Effect on the Travel Industry
Since the dawn of time, the mode of transportation has been on the path of constant evolution. From people inventing circular wheels made by breaking and shaping rocks for an easy commute to people travelling in self-driven cars that take them from one place to another with the push of a few buttons, there is always something new and improved surfacing in the travel industry. And there is no doubt there are millions more new trends in transportation waiting to pop up in the future.
Thanks to the power of imagination and increased rates of innovation, industry professionals are yet to stop in their pursuit of the next best thing. However, whether this innovation has a positive or negative impact on the future of transportation as well as the travel industry is always up for discussion.
We have debated countless tourism trends influenced by technological advancements that either helped tour operators and other industry suppliers revamp their businesses or make different facets of the travel experience much more convenient for the travellers themselves. However, in this article, we will be having an in-depth discussion about the future of transportation and how it will impact the travel industry.
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs)
Let us start with the most revolutionary innovation tested and implemented in the modern-day transportation system: connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). CAVs feature a combination of advanced sensor technology, onboard and remote processing capabilities, telecommunications systems, and top-of-the-art GPS. These vehicles can communicate with other vehicles with similar features and navigate their routes based on their surroundings without any human operator. Many reports have been seen of continuous testing of driverless vehicles being conducted on airport roads.
Though currently its mass use has only been seen in airports for transferring people and their carry-ons from one terminal to another, this innovation has the potential to significantly change and elevate the way we travel on the roads between cities. But the biggest impact of this will be evident in the traffic situation. CAVs can provide a safer, less time-consuming, and more cost-efficient way of travelling without the need for a driver’s license.
With the current situation of traffic jams in most cities, especially the ones that are commercial centres, like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, etc., the popularity of CAVs for navigation will soon be on the rise. Currently, the best and most popular example of a CAV is Tesla. In 2021, China launched a fully driverless taxi for the general public called AutoX. Several countries are also working towards developing autonomous trucks.
AI-Driven Naval Transport
AI implementation is responsible for making the travel and tourism experience much easier and more comfortable for travellers. In the past two decades, it has been one of the main driving forces that catapulted the travel industry to its current position. And now it is also making remarkable contributions to shaping the future of all modes of transportation. And after making strides in land transport, it is now revolutionising travel through nautical routes. The plausibility of developing autonomous ships is high, as demonstrated by Norway and Finland. Their entrance into the market is anticipated in the near future.
When properly implemented, by combining the weather and sea current data, advanced AI can be used to calculate the best routes and velocity of the ship. Ships these days use a smart system to store huge quantities of data, which can be used to get the best outcome. With the proper utilisation of AI technology, shipping businesses can make a significant jump into the future.
Travelling on the water can be very time-consuming, high-risk, dangerous, and unpredictable. Even the slightest bit of error in calculation by a human can set the ship off track for days or weeks. Hence, AI-driven naval transports will reduce such man-made errors and increase accuracy and efficiency.
It is well known that carbon emissions from vehicles are the leading cause of the greenhouse effect. The USA alone is responsible for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions, the majority of which are the result of vehicles burning gasoline and diesel. For years, engineers and other specialists in the transportation industry have been searching for other alternatives to traditional fuel that can ensure maximum environmental sustainability. And so comes electricity.
The introduction of electric vehicles into the world transportation market became a significant turning point for the way people used to travel and its eventual effect on the environment. According to reports by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global sales of electric-powered cars increased by almost 60%, crossing the 10 million mark for the first time in 2022.
The report also suggests that one in every seven passenger cars bought in 2022 around the world will be powered by electricity. And this number is expected to rise due to a couple of reasons. Now, the governments of different countries are setting stricter emission goals and making improvements in the charging infrastructure; the cost of lithium-ion batteries that are used in electric vehicles has also gone down; and the people of this generation are much more aware and conscious of environmental sustainability.
Although this alternative also has some drawbacks, as it takes a lot of electricity and time to fully charge an electric vehicle. For example, the Tesla Model S can take up to 10 hours to fully charge but will last for 405 miles, while the Tesla Model Y takes around 12 hours to fully charge and will last for 336 miles. However, if you go to a charging station, it does the work faster, in just over an hour, for a comparatively smaller fee than the current fuel prices.
Nowadays, the electric-powered concept is not just limited to cars and is being considered for implementation in other modes of transportation by several companies with a technological edge in the industry. For instance, Ola, an Indian ride-sharing company, previously made huge investments in e-scooters and is now selling them at a reasonable price; Daimler, a commercial vehicle manufacturing company, invested in electric truck technology; the eActros is in series production since October 2021; and much more.
Effect on the Travel Industry
From what we have discussed so far, we can be sure of the following possible effects of the future of transportation on the travel industry. After arriving at a new destination, you can just hire a self-driving car to take you to your desired location without needing a guide, getting lost, or even haggling with the driver. This will undoubtedly enhance your travelling experience and provide assurance of a safe and stress-free commute to any place you want. You can even hire a CAV to take you from the airport to your hotel after a long journey. Being stuck in prolonged traffic will also be a thing of the past if the number of self-driven cars keeps increasing on the streets along the same trajectory.
Booking a cruise will become much more convenient for travellers with anxiety thanks to AI-driven nautical ships. There are millions of people out there who refrain from going on cruises out of fear: fear of the unpredictable sea, fear of getting lost, or fear of facing any unfortunate situation in the middle of the vast ocean. AI-driven ships will help to relieve most of these fears and bring more passengers on board.
Finally, tourists can travel with peace of mind when they don’t have to worry about running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere or at a location with no gas station, refuelling after every couple of miles, the sky-high cost of fuel, or the large carbon footprint they are leaving behind. If tourists opt for electric vehicles, whether it be a car or a scooter, they can address all those concerns.
To sum up, the future of transportation can only bring positive outcomes to the travel industry, which not only benefit the companies in the sector itself but also the passengers they are committed to serving. Countless developments and innovations are yet to come. Let’s look forward to them and anticipate the changes they may bring to modes of transportation and the travel industry.