If you’ve seen a self-driving car zip down the freeway or nudge itself through rush-hour traffic, you probably know better than most that self-driving cars aren’t a fantasy anymore, they’re actually here. We’re only a few years away from such vehicles becoming affordable and preferred modes of transportation – and Uber has already given us a glimpse of what that future might feel like. Beyond disrupting personal transportation, self-driving cars are going to be game changers in just about every industry you can imagine. The events industry will also face massive changes, and in this post, we’ll talk about some of our predictions.
1. Airport Transportation
Imagine registering for an event months or weeks in advance, and you receive a little code along with your purchase. You arrive at your destination, grab your bags from the belt, walk out of the airport with your phone in hand and the code glowing on its screen. As soon as you step out, you squint and notice a huge fleet of dormant vehicles charging in a nearby carpark. One turns on, and within 30 seconds pulls up to you with the same code projected on the dash. Doors swing open automatically, you climb in (your favorite music is already playing) and you’re on your way.
2. Hotel Transportation
No more delays, no more searching for parking spots … nothing! The same self-driving car which picked you up will drop you off at your hotel and zip away to its next destination. These vehicles will never really rest anywhere except for their designated spaces at strategic locations within cities. Next morning, another car will automatically pull up at the perfect time to pick you up, and any other guests at your hotel going to the same destination. Simple and effortless.
Depending on the type of event you’re running, arranging for parking may fall somewhere between depressing and nightmarish. Not only is it expensive, but often times it’s hard to find accessible, close-by, and sufficiently sized parking lots – especially for very large events. Uber has solved a lot of parking issues in an affordable manner, but things will get even better. By contracting out a scalable fleet of self-driving cars for your event, you’ll never have to worry about parking again. Your cars will automatically perform pick ups and drop offs without ever needing to park themselves near your venue.
4. Ticket Options
Lots of events tack on complimentary options when it comes to selling tickets. Things like meal tickets, passes to attend parties, special sessions and workshops, etc. A similar add-on might be a self-driving transportation option, allowing attendees to opt-in for this well organized and pre-programmed autonomous mode of transportation at a discounted group rate. We imagine that the price of transportation will drop so much that eventually, it won’t even be an option but simply standard.
5. Branding, Media, Sponsorship
As event professionals, we’re always looking for unique ways to promote our sponsors and an event’s brand in creative ways. Autonomous cars will open up a whole new way to do exactly that. Without the need to drive a car yourself, the entire vehicle will become a hub for media and entertainment. You’ll be able to sit back, relax, and simply engage with whatever is presented to you while you are transported to your destination. In between (or layered on top of) the free movie you might be watching, messages from your event’s sponsors might play just like they would on Youtube, for example.
6. Food Delivery
Ah, food! Organizing food is truly a mission for event professionals, but self-driving cars might make that mission just a little bit easier to accomplish. Self-driving trucks would deliver meals and snacks on demand and on time no matter what, due to their predictive ability. A lot like what UberEATS looks like today, except driverless. The future is also likely to bring robotic, fully automated, self-driving food trucks. So when it’s lunchtime, imagine a flock of a variety of food trucks pulling up to your venue and automatically catering to the whim of every single attendee at your event.
We know that you’re thinking a lot of this is sci-fi and that we’ve gone a little crazy. Well, like it or not, this is what the future will look like. In fact, it’s likely to be even crazier! Self-driving cars are just one disruptive technology which will change the events industry, and in future posts, we’ll talk about many others. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!