There is a growing fear that the impending launch of autonomous vehicles will lead to the loss of more than 4 million jobs in the transportation industry, or 3 percent of America’s workforce. There are currently no regulations in place to prevent this from happening, but we’re starting to see some of the first opposition groups sprout up, and one of them wants autonomous vehicles banned for decades.
New York’s Upstate Transportation Association (UTA) and Independent Drivers Guild (the IDG is the first labor group recognized by Uber) are working to ban self-driving vehicles in the state to prevent the potential loss of thousands of jobs. And UTA, which represents taxi, livery, medical transportation, and paratransit drivers, is asking for a 50-year ban on self-driving cars.
“It doesn’t do anything for the local economy to have driverless cars,” John Tomassi, the president of the Upstate Transportation Association, told CNN. “I’m sure there’s a little bit of job creation, but nothing that will match the number of jobs lost.”
The IDG is taking a more passive approach, and believes New York law already prohibits the use of autonomous vehicles. The group, which represents 45,000 drivers, believes the New York law that requires a driver to have one hand on the wheel at all times will be enough to keep self-driving cars off the road. The law says nothing of vehicles without drivers.
Autonomous vehicles are a hot topic for auto manufacturers and tech companies alike, with testing going on around the world. We probably won’t see self-driving cars go mainstream in 2017, but we will almost certainly see more from the opposition.