We often perceive queuing to be a waste of time simply because we could be doing something better. The advent of the driverless car could potentially change the regular visit to the fuel station by virtue of an intelligent planning solution. Being able to understand your upcoming schedule, current capacity and prevailing travel conditions (weather, road works, congestion, etc.) could mean that an intelligent planner ensures your vehicle is re-fuelled at a convenient time without you being present, either on-demand or at a scheduled slot at your local station with which you have a contract. It could also be an attractive venture for the station to guarantee revenue, predict capacity and optimise the supply chain and delivery schedule of multiple fuel types, not just carbon based fuel. Using ANPR cameras and sensors, the garage can record the transaction and post it to your credit card.
Driverless cars have the potential to create many disruptive joint ventures. Automated business and consumer deliveries would overcome skills shortages, but offer a new challenge to security staff. Health and community services could be accessed by elderly customers or simply extend their mobility. Roads could be surveyed using driverless cars with cameras that are later inspected back at the office. Vehicles that interact with smart cities could be used to collect important environmental, traffic and other data.
The car journey may start to resemble the train journey with all the benefits such as time to relax, indulge in a good book, watch a film or catch up on emails and telephone calls, but without the pitfalls, such as waiting on the platform and last mile to and from the station. Being able to access a greater range of on-demand services could be made available with innovative pricing and billing engines.
Of course, it may also mean that in future you will never run on empty again.
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