Luxury Coach & Transportation

February 2014

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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42 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR FEBRUARY 2014 WWW.LCTMAG.COM INDUSTRY TRENDS Alternative energies and driverless features will be propelling the chauffeured vehicles of the future, likely in our lifetimes. By Tom Halligan, LCT East Coast Editor I n the 1980s I had the opportunity to peek in the cockpit of a new Boe- ing 757 and was surprised when the captain told me the aircraft f ies it- self from right after takeoff to land- ing. "I'm basically along for the ride in case there is an emergency," he said. A bit unnerved back then that I was in the hands of computer chips at 35,000 feet, I would be antsier today if the plane did not rely on the latest technology to transport me safely from point A to point B. Of course, the private ground trans- portation industry has witnessed its surge of innovative technologies that have en- hanced vehicle performance, navigation, luxury, entertainment and safety coupled with software-driven off ce systems and communication technologies of all sorts. In addition, vehicle and motorcoach OEMs are rolling out more fuel-eff cient vehicles that include hybrids, battery- propelled electric cars, solar vehicles and self-driving cars that are in the testing stages. However, a self-driving vehicle will f rst have to adroitly navigate the New Jersey Turnpike rush-hour circus before most clients will take a back seat in a chauffeur-less limousine. So what lies ahead? How will technol- ogy and other innovations on the hori- zon shape the future of the industry? LCT Magazine posed the question to a num- ber of industry vehicle manufacturers, coachbuilders, and technology suppliers to get their take on what we can expect to see in the near future — and beyond. "It's easy to envision a time when a driverless car will pick someone up at the click of an app," says David Hirsch, president of Livery Coach Solutions. "That said, I believe there will always be a market for true luxury chauffeured transportation. A driverless car isn't go- ing to help with bags, or know a good restaurant, or be able to perform any of the myriad of services that a professional chauffeur performs today. "To the extent that an automated driv- erless car can work, it will probably ex- pand the market than take away existing business," Hirsch says. "For example, if the price is right, parents would no longer have to stay up late to pick up their teen- age kids from parties. Just as travel agents have survived Internet bookings (but now provide added value, such as planning dream vacations) the chauffeured trans- portation industry will survive and thrive — it just might look a bit different." Eddie McCoy, CEO of FASTTRACK Cloud, says the industry is getting a "much needed level of sophistication with respect to information technology." McCoy sees more technologies being ap- Fast Forwarding The Limo Fleet The all-electric Tesla S is gaining ground in the chauffeured transportation industry and with the wider public as a viable luxury sedan. With continued advancements coupled with driverless technology, such a vehicle could be a prototype for the future. ILLUSTRATION: KEVIN HAEGELE, LCT ART DIRECTOR L I M O _ 0 2 1 4 f u t u r e . i n d d 4 2 LIMO_0214future.indd 42 1 / 2 1 / 1 4 1 0 : 1 5 A M 1/21/14 10:15 AM

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