Autonomous vehicles and natural language processing have been highlighted as top technology trends for 2021 in a report.
The Lux Research Foresight 2021 report lists 12 technologies to watch with autonomous vehicles ranking first.
The study says that improvements in artificial intelligence, analytics and data from maps and sensors are combining to make autonomous vehicles possible.
In the travel industry, more companies are beginning to take note of the trend.
Recently Yellowstone announced it would be the first U.S. National Park to bring in autonomous vehicles for tourists.
The tours and activities segment is one of the areas where onlookers see a strong use case for autonomous vehicles with the technology providing a final piece digital piece to the whole experience.
Alex Bainbridge, founder of Autoura, shares his views in this article saying that tours and activities could finally become digital retail and digital delivery with autonomous vehicles.
Big Tech companies also have skin in the game with Amazon acquiring autonomous vehicle provider Zoox earlier this year and, more recently, Uber sold its self-driving vehicle unit to Amazon-backed Aurora Technologies.
Huge sums are also being ploughed into autonomous vehicles, not only from car manufacturers but also the likes of Didi, which announced a $500 million investment from SoftBank to develop autonomous driving technology in May.
Most recently, Alibaba-backed AutoX said it had rolled out driverless 25 Robotaxis in Shenzhen, China.
Waymo, which is owned Google-parent Alphabet, has been testing driverless vehicles in California since the summer.
Taking the number two position in the Foresight 2021 report is Natural Language Processing (NLP) which have seen a 44% annual growth rate of patents published over the past five years.
In travel, many startups developing chatbot services such as Eddy Travels and SnapTravel, already employ NLP, to better understand customer queries and improve how they are answered.
As the pandemic drives increased automation, more companies will use NLP to increase efficiency.
Corporate travel has long been tipped as an area where sophisticated chat services could drive efficiency.
Comtravo, a startup in the space, backed by Microsoft’s M12 venture fund, uses NLP to turn emailed travel requests into queries in its system.
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Other technologies, highlighted in the report and already being developed for travel, include Artificial Intelligence-enabled sensors, which has applications in aviation and hospitality.
Concluding its report, Lux Research advises companies to have data-driven as well as expert-led monitoring in place because of the dynamic nature of technology innovation.
It also says companies need to cast a wider net than what’s going on in their own industry so as not to miss what’s being developed outside.
The executive summary of the report is available here.