The taxi industry is more than 100 years old and is still going strong despite newbies on the market such as Lyft or Uber. From futuristic designs to eco-friendly vehicles, car companies are slowly rethinking vehicles to be able cope with modern issues such as pollution and accessibility. But what is the future of the taxi service? What technologies can we expect to see and where are we at today?
100 years ago…
Taxis date back to the mid-17th century when individuals such as merchants hired horse drawn hackney carriages to travel across major European cities. However, the taxi we know today is based on the taximeter which is an instrument measuring the time or distance of a vehicle that travels. This then allowed a fare to be determined accurately. The first motored cab appeared in London in 1897, followed by Paris in 1899 and New York City by 1907.
Nowadays, taxis are all about comfort, reliability and efficiency. That’s why today a lot of companies such as Cab Direct, offer the latest models of luxury cars such as the Mercedes Benz. Over with the old and uncomfortable taxi.
We also see a big change in big cities like London. Indeed, a pure-electric black cab has been launched in the English capital with brand new features like contactless payment, heated seats and an enlarged glass roof. There is also an increase in independent apps working the same way as Uber to help taxi firms keep their clientele. However, one of the many challenges is to keep or even lower the price of a fare while keeping a steady increase in new technologies and features within these vehicles.
In April 2019, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, presented his ambitious plan of putting on the road over one million “RoboTaxis” which won’t need human drivers. Customers will then be able to book a self-driving RoboTaxi through an app, the same way we call for an Uber today. RoboTaxis will use a ton of sensors such as forward-facing radars and cameras with the help of super advanced software.
Autonomous cars are already a big thing this year… Google’s self-driving cars, Waymo, but also Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover all have collaborated on similar trials using the latest technology on public roads.
The key to autonomous cars is to implement a technology able to view 360 degrees of its surroundings, just like a human driver, with the help of technology such as LiDar. Using light detection and ranging, it uses very small lasers to create a 3D image of the surroundings.
The taxi industry is clearly seeing more and more innovations everyday with the advent of “robotaxis” and autonomous cars. But for now, it is curcial for taxi firms to invest in quality cars with the latest technology to keep their clientele.