Are Autonomous Vehicles The Future Of Luxury Car Hire

In recent years, the drive toward autonomous vehicles has reached headlines more times than one can count. We have become fascinated with the idea of turning over many of the responsibilities on the road to the car itself. Whether it’s a desire for convenience or seeking out the most cutting-edge technology, many of the key marques in the industry have focused much of their attention on the development of self-drive cars. At Starr Luxury Cars, we believe that every drive should be exquisite and this means having access to tools that reduce stress and worry. Hiring an autonomous car is sure to be the near future, making your family weekend away or corporate trip considerably more enjoyable. But, are autonomous vehicles the future of luxury car hire? And how soon can we expect to make entirely autonomous journeys?

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The autonomous luxury vehicle market

Autonomous cars have been the topic of much conversation for many years. At the 1939 World Fair, General Motors launched an electric, radio-controlled vehicle. In 1990, Carnegie Mellon University built self-drive cars that could travel from Pittsburgh to San Diego. And as we moved into 2000, the world of autonomous cars was well and truly in play. It is estimated that the autonomous luxury vehicle market will grow by 35.86% by 2027 and that, by 2030, 20 million autonomous vehicles will drive through our roads.

The term ‘autonomous’ has a multitude of connotations. For some, it defines a vehicle that can drive entirely unaided, without the requirement for present drivers or passengers at all. For others, it is the breadth of technology which takes over the most challenging aspects of driving. The marque who have embarked on their journey towards truly self-drive vehicles linger in between these two marks. Driving assist technology has become commonplace, with many leading names from Tesla to Audi promoting them upon each vehicle launch.

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Levels of autonomous driving

In order to understand the end goal for automobile manufacturers, we need to first understand the different levels of autonomous driving. The Society of Automotive Engineers defines the 5 levels of autonomy as follows:

Level 0 – No Automation. The driver continues to perform all driving tasks.

Level 1 – Driver Assistance – The driver continued to control the vehicle but some driver assist features still exist.

Level 2 – Partial Automation – The vehicle manages functions such as steering and acceleration but required a present driver to take over when it can no longer drive.

Level 3 – Conditional Automation – The driver continues to be necessary but does not need to monitor the environment. However, they need to be able to take control of the vehicle at all times.

Level 4 – High Automation – The vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions. The driver may still be able to take control of the car.

Level 5 – Fully Autonomous – The vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under all conditions. The driver may still be able to take control of the car.

To date, most autonomous vehicles on the market now fall into Level 2 of vehicle autonomy – Partial Automation. The car in question can control steering, acceleration and braking to some degree. However, you still need to remain aware of your surroundings and be able to take over control when needed – for example, when an unforeseen incident occurs.

Self-driving cars are being hailed as a means of reducing accidents on the road. Research has shown that at least 90% of motor accidents are caused, either fully or partially, by human error. While we may aim to be the best drivers possible, there are always opportunities for distraction or challenging situations that cause us to make the wrong decision. It is believed that having the capabilities to take over driving and utilising intelligent technology will allow autonomous vehicles to keep us safer on every journey.

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Autonomous vehicles on the market today

The luxury car hire market has long embraced technological advancements and the rise of autonomous vehicles is no exception. As leading marques continue to release more intelligent and adaptive vehicles, the opportunity to hire a luxury car with autonomous features becomes a real possibility. At Starr Luxury Cars, we are proud to have the largest fleet of prestige cars for hire in the UK with access to self-drive options and a wealth of technology. Here are just three models and marques that are currently leading the way.

Hire a Tesla Model S

When we look at technologically advanced automotive manufacturers, there’s no overlooking Tesla. The American company made a name for itself earlier on, totting its focus on uncompromised electric driving and reduced emissions in its overall goals. The Tesla Model S is one of their earliest launches and continues to be toted as a marvel of electrified design. It is packed with a wealth of technology, including an ignition that switches on with the weight of your body and a range of around 400 miles.

However, the most notable feature in the Tesla Model S is the marque’s Autopilot features. Featuring eight cameras, it achieves 360-degree visibility up to a 250m range. The advanced Hardware 3 processor works through data 40x quicker than the previous models and uses an intelligent system that learns and develops over time. At the moment, this technology makes the Tesla S a Level 2 automated vehicle. It can help you to navigate tighter and more complex roads with steering, acceleration and braking functions. However, a driver is still required on-hand at all times to ensure full safety. It’s important to note that the processors within a Tesla S have the capabilities to eventually lead to Level 5, fully automated driving. It just needs to wait for the technology to catch up.

Hire a Mercedes-Benz E Class

Mercedes is another marque that has set its sights on fully autonomous driving in the past few years. Hire a Mercedes-Benz E Class and you’ll be treated to their semi-autonomous Driving Assistance Plus package, dubbed the Drive Pilot. Once again, this technology only affords you Level 2 automation but the intelligent safety features work hard to keep you safe on the road.

There are 3 main functions – Distance Pilot Distonic which regulated distance from other cars, Speed Limit Pilot which manages speed according to restrictions and Steering Pilot which keeps the vehicle centred on the road. Together, these systems work at speeds up to 80mph and alongside technologies including Active Brake Assist, Evasive Steering Assist and Active Lane Change Assist. And don’t forget the impressive luxury and space afforded to you inside this luxury car rental. With the room to fit the entire family and an impressively comfortable suspension, it is the perfect choice for family holidays, corporate trips and self-indulgent alike.

Hire a BMW 7-Series

BMW has long since marked itself out as one of the leaders in autonomous cars. In fact, all BMW models on the market offer Level 1 autonomy with make offering Level 2. The marque announced that the next generation BMW 7 Series and BMW i7 will both feature Level 3 autonomous driving, making it the first name to offer this in countries like the US.

They also announced a collaboration with tech companies Qualcomm and Arriver, giving them access to next-generation automated driving solutions. Future models will make use of

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Hire an autonomous luxury car with Starr Luxury Cars

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride vision SoC and Arriver’s Computer Vision Technology. Together, these will deliver a vehicle that will drive itself and monitor the road ahead but still requires some support from the driver. The 7-Series itself is crafted for comfort and luxury, with space for up to five inside and exquisite leather upholstery. Pair the self-drive features with ventilated and heated seats alongside a heated steering wheel and up to 601bhp and you have a car that will keep the entire family in safety and comfort while gliding down any road.

While fully automated cars may still be a thing of the future, there’s no denying that the technology exists within our reach. Here at Starr Luxury Cars, we bring you the largest fleet of prestige cars for hire in the UK. Alongside our chauffeur-driven experiences and sportscars for hire, you’ll also find several luxurious vehicles with these autonomous features. Hire a Tesla Model S and discover electrified driving at its finest. Hire a Mercedes-Benz E Class and indulge in exquisite luxury during more leisurely drives with the family. Or, hire a BMW 7-Series and discover what exceptional craftsmanship blended with modern technology feels like.

If you’re ready to hire a luxury car today, you can view our fleet on the Starr Luxury Cars website. Our professional and friendly team are on hand to tailor your driving experience to your exacting specifications. We offer both long and short-term hire along with added extras to suit your needs perfectly.

Get in contact today to hire a prestige car for your next event.

With the largest fleet in the UK and experts on hand to help carve a bespoke car hire experience for your party, speak to a member of our professional Sales Team on 02036001631 (24 Hours) or email