The first time a funeral procession comes to the cemetery, the drivers of the funeral vehicles will usually have to navigate through a few obstacles, such as people who want to visit their gravesite, or the elderly, who need to carry their loved ones’ caskets to their gravesites.
But as funeral vehicle drivers get more sophisticated, they are finding ways to make their vehicles more accommodating.
They can be equipped with GPS navigation systems and high-definition video systems that allow the vehicles to make a more direct path to the casket.
And they can also include a central location for the funeral home to coordinate all the transportation activities.
The best funeral transportation service will help the family to make the best decision possible, and to make it with the best equipment, says Mike Houser, vice president of business development for funeral transportation company Transdev.
And Transdev is working to bring these technologies to the funeral homes of the future.
Housers’ company, which he founded in 1998, is among a handful of funeral transportation companies that are exploring the possibility of incorporating high-tech technology into their vehicles.
“Our goal is to bring technology to the transportation industry that will give people greater convenience, less waiting time, and lower costs,” Housier says.
“The technology will be in the truck or van itself, so you can get to your destination faster and be there more quickly.
And you won’t have to pay for parking, because you’ll be using your own vehicle.”
That’s what Transdev plans to do when it begins offering funeral transportation services in the coming years.
But the company is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“There are so many variables involved,” Hoeser says.
In a typical funeral, the funeral procession will be led by at least one funeral home representative, which means it could take a funeral home three to four days to get to the graveyard.
And a funeral has a maximum of eight vehicles.
Transdev’s funeral vehicle service is more than 20 years old, and Housser says it is still in its early days.
He says the company plans to provide some basic information to the grieving family in the form of a funeral service brochure and a brochure about the funeral vehicle, such it may be.
“We hope to make some kind of a website where we’ll give them a little more information about the vehicle,” Houseser says, and he says Transdev will also begin offering funeral service packages for those that have a disability, including a casket and burial arrangements.
“A lot of people will want to go with the more traditional funeral services, because they know that they’re going to be in a more intimate setting, and they’ll be able to have their loved one there,” Homser says in an interview.
“But people will also want to be able [to] do things like having a visitation or going out with friends, and having the family meet at the cemetery.”
For the past two years, Transdev has been looking into ways to improve the service.
The company is working with a funeral transportation consultant to design a system that could allow funeral homes to offer funeral transportation for those who are unable to go to the gravesite.
“This way, we’ll have more flexibility for the grieving person,” Hyser says of the system.
And he says the Transdev system will also be more accessible to the elderly and those with disabilities.
Homeser says the system will have a simple interface, similar to the way Google Maps works, so that it is easy to understand and navigate.
And the company will be working with the funeral industry to offer more customized packages for the deceased.
“When we have a funeral, we want to make things simple for the families,” Hayser says while talking about Transdev, which also operates an online service for funeral vehicles.
Homsers company, Trans Dev, is offering its funeral service in four cities in the U.S. — Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Nashville.
It will also offer its service in Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“In some cities, we’ve been able to offer the funeral service without the cost of parking,” Hemsers says.
Haysers says the more the company can offer services, the better it will be.
Hysers says Trans Dev is still working to expand its service and expand its services to other funeral transportation providers.
But Hyssers says his company is looking at a number of options for the future, including offering a virtual funeral, and the possibility to offer a personalized funeral for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Hoesers says that Transdev may consider offering an in-home funeral.
But, he says, it would be very difficult for the company to offer that.
“To offer a virtual burial would be so expensive that it wouldn’t be worth it,” Hamser says about the possibility.
TransDev’s technology, though,