Uber Drivers Still Not Concerned about Driverless Cars
Those in the workforce not just in the United States, but around the world, are quickly realizing that automation is going to be the next big job killer. It already is. A TIME article reports that about 4.5 million Americans who work as professional drivers in the U.S. for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are at risk of being replaced by driverless vehicles. What once used to be the stuff of science fiction is now inching toward reality as each day goes by.
Silicon Valley tech companies such as Google, and automakers like Ford and General Motors are already investing millions in developing driverless car technology, which they and many believe, is the way of the future. Self-driving Uber vehicles are already being tested in cities such as Pittsburgh and Arizona and driverless trucks have made deliveries in Colorado. In fact, London is getting ready to deploy self-driving buses.
Robots Have an Edge Over Humans
TIME interviewed a number of professional drivers who are not yet concerned that they will lose their jobs to these robots. Some envision working in a different field by the time self-driving cars become ready for primetime, which will take several years at least. Others believe that driverless technology might not completely replace human drivers. This, of course, may be bordering on denial.
Companies that are developing this technology say that anything human drivers can do, the robots can do better. They also say autonomous vehicles will significantly reduce the risks of car accidents that are caused by negligent drivers. Robots don’t drink and drive and they don’t text or feel the need to check email or Facebook updates. So, researchers say these driverless cars will help save lives.
Safety of Driverless Cars Must Be Ascertained
Then again, there is the looming question of how safe these driverless cars really are. There have been reported problems with Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature, which has allegedly caused crashes around the world. There is the question of whether these vehicles are ready for primetime. And based on news reports of crashes involving driverless Uber vehicles or stories of vehicles going the wrong way, running red lights or almost running over pedestrians, it appears that much more work needs to be done.
Driverless technology should not be unveiled until it has been tested and thoroughly vetted. The public should not be used as guinea pigs for this experiment. No driverless vehicle should be allowed on our roadways until there is a process in place to test and determine that they work safely under a variety of real-life circumstances. Needless to say, the same applies for driverless large trucks, where accident damages could be tragic and devastating.