Hello Milo: How Autonomous Vehicles Can Make Driving Better For Sports Fans
BY ADAM GROSSMAN
When it comes to autonomous technology, it is hard to think of a topic that has received more attention than self-driving vehicles. Autonomous technology typically refers to replacing tasks done manually by humans with some form of machine and / or machine learning. Companies such as Uber, Tesla and Google have spent millions of dollars developing new vehicles that rely on automated technology powered by sophisticated algorithms rather than humans as drivers.
Similar to much of autonomous technology, the future of autonomous vehicles is complex depending on your point-of-view. Today, however, autonomous vehicles are used as compliments to rather than replacements of cars. The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers are good examples of teams that have determined novel ways to leverage autonomous driving. More specifically, “Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers fans can soon be able to take driverless vehicles to and from the parking lots of AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park about an hour before and after all games this season.”
The Cowboys have identified a common issue for sports fans when it comes to attending live events at professional sports venues. It often takes a long time to walk from a parking lot to the venue itself. Because parking lots are often very crowded at specific times (i.e. before and after games), it is very difficult for buses or larger shuttles to bring fans to the venue. Milo, the name for this new shuttle service, solves these problems. These vehicles are relatively small and can drive “on a pre-programmed route on paved off-street trails and stops at assorted, pre-designated stops throughout…stadiums’ parking lots and complexes.”
Because both the Cowboys and Rangers play in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas, many fans rely on cars to drive to games. Milo makes it much easier for fans to have a better travel experience because they will have significantly less stress about getting to their seats if they drive to a game. Given that many teams at both the professional and collegiate level have fans that want to drive to venues (in particular to tailgate before games), using a system like Milo should increase the likelihood of people coming to games, concerts, and events.
The city of Arlington using Milo for Cowboys or Rangers games also contains another feature that should be used when adapting new technology. Arlington has decided to lease “two self-driving, electric vehicles from France-based EasyMile for a one-year pilot program to explore autonomous transportation technology in a real-world setting.” Rather than making a large, up-front commitment to a new technology, the city of Arlington will test autonomous driving and see what improvements can be made in the future. The best way to see if a technology works is actually to see if the technology works.
By conducting a smaller-scale experiment, Arlington will have the information it needs to either move forward or end the program. Milo shows how testing new, autonomous technology can have a large impact on the fan experience with a relatively small time and monetary investment.