Why Is the Liquor Industry Pushing to Get Autonomous Vehicles on the Road?

Controversial

May 08th, 2020

Why Is the Liquor Industry Pushing to Get Autonomous Vehicles on the Road?

If you think about it, we as car enthusiasts are fortunate to live in this day and age. Within just the past ten years or so, we've seen several disruptive technologies being introduced to the automotive industry. Among them are the autonomous vehicles, which are probably some of the most exciting advancements we've seen so far. 

Not too long ago, the idea of a car that could drive itself was purely science fiction. Right now, however, autonomous vehicles are increasingly becoming the new norm. Businesses and individuals are eagerly looking forward to their arrival in the market, including this surprise fan – the liquor industry! 

That's right, this industry is heavily invested in the progression of autonomous driving technology. All over the globe, it seems that the major manufacturers of alcoholic beverages you and I enjoy have also developed a keen interest in the development of autonomous vehicles. But why? How could autonomous cars possibly benefit the alcohol industry?

The answer is simple: autonomous vehicles could lower costs and increase sales for the liquor industry! As a result of this potential, the liquor industry has spent years pushing to get autonomous vehicles on the road.

How They're Getting Involved

To say that the liquor industry is interested in autonomous vehicles might be an understatement. In many countries, major manufacturers of alcoholic beverages are actively lobbying in support of autonomous vehicles. That means that they're devoting much of their time and other resources towards the benefit of autonomous cars! 

Take the United States, for example. Over there, groups representing both the liquor producers and liquor wholesalers have spent years lobbying to get self-driving vehicles onto American roads. These include but aren't limited to major players such as Pernod Ricard, Bacardi and Diageo, to name a few. 

All of them seem to share the same perspective on self-driving vehicles: they are great for the alcohol industry. But how? 

Well, let's explore the possible answers to that question.

People Can Drink More If They Don't Have to Drive Afterwards

When drinkers are out having a fun evening, one of the biggest concerns they may have is about how they'll get home at the end of the night. Some social groups may have a 'designated driver', someone who commits to staying sober so they can drive everyone else for the night. Others may resort to using public transportation, taxis or ride-share services to get them home after a wild night. This is, of course, assuming that drivers of those vehicles allow you to enter their cars. Some aren't so keen on driving intoxicated passengers!

Whatever the case may be, having to get yourself home after a night of drinking is a factor that makes people hold back on their drinking. People choose to be a little bit more cautious and skip on a few drinks, leaving them just sober enough to get themselves home responsibly.

With autonomous vehicles, this is less of a concern. People wouldn't have to worry about relying on anyone else to get home when they can do it themselves with a push of a button in their own car. As a result, these people may end up consuming much more liquor, which is good news for the liquor industry.

There Will Be Less Drunk Driving

On top of that, there is another added benefit to what I've mentioned above. The liquor industry is often blamed whenever there are cases of drunk driving, more so when it leads to accidents. Drunk driving accidents and the damage that happens tend to anger the general public against the alcohol industry, forcing companies to struggle with PR nightmares.

With autonomous vehicles being much more prevalent, the assumption is that there will be fewer drunk driving accidents taking place. Drinkers can get home safely after a long night out. Road users, be it drivers or pedestrians, will be much safer as a result. Everybody wins.

Of course, this is mostly speculative at this point, but the assumptions seem to make sense.

Reduced Supply Chain Costs

Of course, when we talk about autonomous vehicles, we're not just discussing personally-owned cars. Autonomous driving technology has also spread to the logistics industry that transports supplies from one end of a country to the other.

Autonomous trucks, in particular, could be of great benefit to the alcohol industry's supply chain. Traditionally, a trucker who drives over long distances carrying supplies for a company, will have to stop and take a break now and then. In theory, an autonomous truck could continue travelling for much longer to its destination. It'll probably only need to stop to refuel!

With less turnaround time when distributing supplies all over the country, a liquor company could save a lot on its operating costs. Lower costs mean higher profits!

Final Thoughts

Autonomous driving technologies have made leaps and bounds over the past few years. However, if you've been keeping up with the news about this technology, you'll know that there is still a long way for it to go. Autonomous driving technology isn't as straightforward as we might think, and it's certainly not just about making a self-driving car travel in the right direction. One of the many hurdles in developing this technology is in its safety aspects.

There's still quite a long way to go to ensure that this technology is safe for everyday, widespread use. It's already evident that this technology will benefit a lot of people, from everyday drivers like you and me to entire businesses like those in the liquor industry. Whatever the case may be, its great to see that autonomous driving tech is receiving such strong support from other sectors like the liquor industry.

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By Ray Hasbollah