Driverless Cars’ Impact on Jobs…. Should You Be Worried?

There are many articles out there regarding the potential loss of jobs associated with a driverless society.  Here are a couple of examples:

Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck

Will Driverless Cars Force a Choice Between Lives and Jobs?

These articles cite the many jobs that will likely be impacted (and even eliminated) with driverless cars: truck drivers, chauffeurs, taxi drivers, delivery people, etc.  The first article also describes the chain effect this disruption could cause:  “Those 3.5 million truck drivers driving all over the country stop regularly to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. Entire businesses have been built around serving their wants and needs. Think restaurants and motels as just two examples. So now we’re talking about millions more whose employment depends on the employment of truck drivers.”

The second article highlights the impact to people with jobs related to car accidents: “[Despite the improvements to safety,] that won’t protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs tied to car accidents, such as in emergency rooms, hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, auto parts factories, tow-truck operators, collision repair shops, insurance claim call centers and so on.”

While I think this is all true, I also think this will happen gradually and people will find other opportunities. And this has happened so many times before:

  • Lyft and Uber are massively disrupting the taxi industry.
  • Electronic toll collection replaced the need for toll takers.
  • Electronic books replaced the need for many brick and mortar book stores and libraries
  • Email has lessened the need for the U.S. postal service

Our society has thrived and people have found other jobs.  I guess I’m pretty heartless….

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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One Response to Driverless Cars’ Impact on Jobs…. Should You Be Worried?

  1. I agree with you – doors open and close. People in the ‘car accident impact’ industry will all find other jobs to the extent they are displaced as a result of driving becoming safer. Great post, and food for thought. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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