Taxi drivers have had a tough time of late, with Uber and other ride-hailing services providing stiff competition in their industry. But the worst may yet be to come for cab drivers, as automated taxis hit the roads in various countries around the world.
Singapore was the first country to put autonomous taxis on the road, offering driverless rides in 2016. Uber has also launched pilots involving the public in Pittsburgh, and a number of new services are just over the horizon.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
This month in Paris, a company called Navya launched the AUTONOM CAB, which provides trips in urban centers. The taxi has no driver, and no cockpit, steering wheel, or pedals. Carrying six passengers at a time, it is capable of speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, but will average around 30 miles per hour in urban areas.
The cab is totally electric and is being hailed by its creators as an integral part of the future of cities, which are increasingly becoming technology-heavy and ‘smart’.
“Imagine what cities would be like if there were nothing but AUTONOMS running on the road. No more traffic jams or parking problems, fewer accidents and less pollution,” says Navya CEO Christophe Sapet. “At Navya, we recognize that the status of individual cars is rapidly changing, especially among younger generations, many of whom don’t have their driver’s license and are less attached to the concept of owning a car. What they want are mobility solutions available 24/7, ensuring their safety and well-being at a reduced cost.”
Users will be able to order an AUTONOM cab using a smartphone app, with the vehicle starting up when someone opens and closes the door. Navya, which has production capacity in France and the U.S., aims to have an AUTONOM cab in service in the second quarter of 2018.
Meanwhile in the U.S., the Google spin-off company Waymo is preparing to offer a completely driverless taxi service to the public in Phoenix, Arizona. Waymo tested a pilot program outside Phoenix, which involved a fleet of self-driving minivans being used by the public, but with a Waymo employee behind the wheel just in case. The new service won’t have anybody ready to take over.
“Participants in our early rider program will be amongst the first to experience these fully self-driving rides, using our vehicles to commute to work, take the kids to school, or get home from a night out. When fully self-driving vehicles become part of people’s everyday routine, we can move closer to our goal of making transportation safe and easy for everyone,” the company wrote in a Medium post.
Navya is also involved in a Las Vegas project that saw driverless shuttle buses hit the streets on November 8. Eight-seater Navya ARMA vehicles will be used along a 0.6 mile route at the Fremont East Innovation District in Vegas. It’s claimed that this will be the largest self-driving pilot in real-world traffic conditions.
Self-driving shuttle pilots have also been launched in places such as Paris and London.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.