There have been a lot of technological developments over the last couple of decades. Too many to count, as a matter of fact. We’ve seen all aspects of our life be improved through innovation and the use of technology, and just when we think nothing else could be improved, there’s always another innovation waiting for us.
Things like phones, computers, medical devices, watches, etc. have all been improved. One weird thing I’ve noticed, though, is how most things that experience innovation usually follow an exponential curve. What I mean by this is that once something experiences innovation, it keep innovating more and more over time. One service, however, has not followed this trend. That service is the taxi service. The curve for taxi services have gone from yellow taxis, to Uber/Lyft, to newly created self-driving cars. The curve for taxi service is ridiculous.
In any case, I’m glad that taxis services are being innovated so fast. For someone who travels a lot it’s like a dream come true. Before when you had to travel somewhere and you couldn’t take your car, you had to either call a taxi or wave one down on the street. In recent years we’ve seen the creation of services like Uber that have made a significant impact to the way people travel without having access to a car of their own. I don’t think anyone can argue that Uber has made a notable negative impact other than its impact on the decrease in taxi drivers.
However, Uber is not a perfect service. The main issue with Uber arrives with its drivers. I know I can’t be the only one who has had a reckless Uber before. Granted, all of my reckless Uber drivers were in New York, so they had to be reckless in order to get to the destination on time, but that’s besides the point. The next step in the innovation of taxi services was obviously to get rid of the driver. This might sound incredibly hard to do, but a second glance reveals that we have the technology to achieve this goal.
One of the frontrunners in the race to bring self-driving cars to the market is a company called Voyage. The startup company plans on producing an army of self-driving taxis using “retrofitted mass-production automobiles.” Voyage wants to use cars that are already in existence rather than building new car from the ground up. Self-driving taxis is the goal Voyage wants to reach, but the company is also dedicated to giving passengers a way to interact with their self-driving cars. So, not only will the cars be self-driving, they will also have smart capabilities. The implementation of Voyage is taking place in small communities around the country. First, Voyage will start by providing this service in small communities whilst working out all the kinks that come with the work-in-progress that is self-driving cars.
Voyage's goal is stated very clearly on their website:
“At Voyage we're working to bring about the end-goal of self-driving cars: a world where anyone, anywhere can summon a car directly to their doorstep, travel safely to their destination, all for an extremely low price... We are expanding community-by-community across the country, and with each deployment we are targeting communities with more residents, more road, and their own set of unique challenges.”
Voyage may be in the primary stages of implementation, but with a startup company like this doing work in the field of taxi services, I don’t think it will be long before self-driving cars is commonplace in our society. In five to ten, years don’t be surprised if you travel somewhere without your car and find yourself ordering a self-driving taxi on your smartphone. Afterall, self-driving cars has been in the works for a long time now. Everyone thought that self-driving cars would be something that you would purchase of your own accord. I don’t think anyone foresaw self-driving cars taking over the taxis business. It may not be largely in effect at this moment, but I think Voyage will have a huge impact on the way people of the future travel. Next thing you know, there'll be self-flying personal airplanes you can use to get across the country. Who knows what tomorrow holds?