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Auto Transport and Car Automation

Google’s automated car has gotten attention from a number of press outlets, and it’s been speculated that automation of car shipping facilities is just around the corner. Could automated driving technology be used to ship a car from door to door? No conclusive answer has been released as yet, and the legality of robotic cars on the roads will likely create a logistical issue with the automation of car shipping for the time being. Namely, automated cars are required to have drivers present in the event of malfunction. Therefore, there is no economic advantage to auto transport companies from installing auto-pilot functionality at this time.

In the future, however, a residential auto transport customer could conceivably send an automobile over a thousand-mile journey without a single human being having to get involved in the process. Imagine this: you are planning a long-distance trip. You plan to fly, and you’d like to have your car available since you will be staying at your destination for several months. You visit a web site, type in your source, destination, and pick-up and drop-off times. The next morning, a car carrier arrives at your driveway. The car carrier has no human driver; it is controlled by a computer that detects your house via GPS and rings your doorbell by remote control. Alternatively, the system might send a text message to your phone, notifying you that the auto transport will arrive in a few minutes to pick up your car.

Such a system might also allow you to authorize an auto transport to move your car onto its bed. You might provide the system with a single-use code, allowing the truck to take over control of your car and activate the ignition. You might simply watch from your bedroom window while your car drives itself up onto the truck’s bed, and the truck drives away. You might arrive at your destination just in time to watch the truck pull into the driveway, and watch your car drive itself back off. Technology for this type of application is not commercially available at the time of this writing, but it may be here sooner than you think. Technology continues to advance at an accelerated pace with each passing year, and it seems ideas that once appeared impossible become mainstream technologies in the blink of an eye.

Short-haul, auto transport might have some applications in metropolitan settings. Historically, auto transportation has required the use of trucks or trains, but this might not always be the case. You might, for example, be able to drive into town, pull up in front of the building where you work, and allow an auto transport system to park your car for you and bill your credit card for any charges incurred.

The auto transportation industry’s future is virtually unlimited, and the applications for this type of automation are endless. During peak traffic hours, for example, cars tend to form bottlenecks on city streets and highways. Auto transport trains might be utilized to reduce the load by allowing cars to be loaded onto a conveyor belt. This type of system might reduce the impact of fluctuations such as individual driver response time. Since a line of cars can only move as fast as the slowest car, any individual driver can effectively slow down the entire line of traffic. In an automated auto transport system, however, a computer controller could simultaneously control the movement of all cars via a single drive chain system. This would allow the line to move at faster speeds.

Auto transport companies aren’t just for one-time movers. Auto transportation may become an everyday need for mainstream consumers.

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