Automakers and tech firms have recently been joined by an interesting (but in hindsight, obvious) ally — the American booze industry.
According to The Washington Post, 2 industry groups, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (an industry-funded nonprofit), have joined lobbying coalitions to get autonomous vehicles on the road faster.
In defense of getting wasted…
Alcohol-related crashes still kill 28 people a day — not a good look for the liquor industry.
Both the WSWA and FAAR see autonomous vehicles as a way to reduce drunken driving and allow drinkers to finally get sloshed “responsibly” without the obligation of driving home, a move that Morgan Stanley predicts could boost sales as much as $250B.
But it’s more than just sales…
In recent years, there’s been a cultural shift in the liquor industry, with many consumers drinking more at home and less at restaurants or bars.
With autonomous cars, the liquor industry hopes to incentivize people to go out on the town, and in turn, take advantage of higher margins and better brand visibility.
On top of that, autonomous delivery trucks could significantly reduce labor costs for distributors who will no longer have to pay drivers to move shipments of their finest Natty *insert chilly organic noun here* across the country.