Will Commercial Driverless Cars Lead To Mass Unemployment?

Since ages, humans have been trying their best to increase the efficiency and creativity of their output, and one such possibility is the replacement of human-oriented work with automated machines and robots. Not only has this made our lives far more comfortable, but has also eliminated chances of errors.

A very similar prospect has been introduced by Tesla, in which driverless automobiles have been designed to conduct rides without any action from the person taking the trip. All you need to do is tell the car your destination and wait for it to take you there.


Image: Pexels.com

To many, this is one of the most idealized realities coming true as they will no longer have trouble finding cooperative drivers who would safely and honestly take them to their required destinations. However, on the other side of the story, this prospect could have some very devastating effects on people who are more or less likely to be replaced by these automated cars.

The people of interest here are the taxi drivers and truck drivers who earn their livelihood from driving vehicles, transporting people and goods respectively. Having automated cars would mean that these vehicles would no longer need a driver. This would apparently lead to the replacement of these drivers with autonomous vehicles.

Consequently, this could have a tremendous impact, as not only will these respective people lose their precious jobs but also the country’s economy would incur significant losses. A rough idea could be derived from the 2014 report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics which states that there were approximately 1.6 million drivers in the United States, with an average income of $42,000.

A number this large signifies the fact that these many people would be most likely to lose their jobs once the process of self-automation starts placing immense pressure on the nation’s economy lines and leading to employment unrest.

A report by Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., and North Carolina’s Elon University states that advancement in robotics and artificial intelligence has already replaced most of the many male-dominated jobs and by 2025 the entire profession of truckers and taxi drivers has been estimated to vanish.

The compressing threat of depriving millions of people of their jobs is no longer the only arising problem, driverless and automated vehicles are also composing an immense risk to devastate some of the most well-established industries.

Uber and other commercial sharing services are some examples of such enterprises. Uber, is a peer to peer ridesharing, food delivery, and transportation service currently operating in 674 cities worldwide is known for making revenue of 6.5 billion USD (2016). In the US it has had a potential peak of 160,000 active drivers (2014). The replacement of all these drivers would mean a massive blow to the economic stability of all these people, many of whom may be the sole breadwinners of their family. Moreover, since the automated robotic drivers will take over the jobs of these drivers, many countries would feel the overwhelming burden of unemployment lingering in their country thereby bending the economic growth towards the negative side of the extension.

However, to look at the brighter side of the whole scenario, things might not be worse, as to control the operative robots. Eventually, people would be employed, and the overall masses of unemployed would to some extent be compensated. Although these driverless cars will reshape the economy in many ways, nevertheless it is going to be doing it at the expense of a million jobs.

Author: Jemima Meyers of NYC