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Uber Lonely: Could Your Next Limousine Be Driverless?

If you have plans to rent a limousine or a chauffeur in the near future, could it be that you are picked up by a driverless car? Some car companies want to make it so, and the reason all boils down to challenging taxi-like services that allow virtually anybody to take the wheel and make a bit of cash on the side.

In the future, some auto manufacturers will benefit more than car buyers with a new service. Autonomous cars, designed as part of a large fleet, will be used to transport passengers from place to place. Luxury cars will make up a significant portion of the fleet. No longer does riding in style require you to buy a limo or town car of your own. You'll be able to simply order a car with the help of technology and get to your destination without a second thought.

Why would it be so convenient to order a driverless limo? For starters, the car will leave to pick you up without prompting. You step foot outside the airport, and your vehicle is waiting for you. Ever had an awkward conversation with your limo or taxi driver? You won't have to worry about that happening again. The future could very well be driverless -- no human error included.

Phone apps used to order taxis recently announced the intention to pursue driverless rides for its customers, and car manufacturers are reacting swiftly with intentions of their own. For the companies that own these apps, this would save plenty of money. No longer will they be paying a fleet of drivers; they simply need cars to transport their passengers.

The downside? You might be waiting for that driverless car for quite a while. A prototype of the car already exists, but you aren't likely to see self-driving vehicles for purchase until about 2020. Could you be in a limo for one by then?

Several big name automakers are working toward the goal though many have yet to announce passenger cars like limos at this point. In the meantime, car makers are struggling with the law. Who is liable for an accident caused by a driverless car? The laws have yet to catch up with new technology.

Apps are already available to help you hail a cab and see its location. These include certain apps that even allow you to pay for the cab via phone. Could car companies give these taxi apps a run for their money? Time (and technology) will tell.