In U.S., Automation Could Put 1.8 Million Drivers Out Of Work

In the U.S., automation could put 1.8 million drivers of out work according to the Guardian. (Credit: Youtube)

In the U.S., automation could put 1.8 million drivers of out work according to the Guardian.

Scope of driving jobs affected by automation:

[There are] 1.8 million Americans, mainly men, who drive heavy trucks for a living, the single most common job in many US states. Driving is one of the biggest occupations in the world. Another 1.7 million people drive taxis, buses and delivery vehicles in the US alone. But for how long? Having “disrupted” industries including manufacturing, music, journalism and retail, Silicon Valley has its eyes on trucking.

Who is behind the research to automate driving?

Google, Uber, Tesla and the major truck manufacturers are looking to a future in which people like Baxter will be replaced – or at the very least downgraded to co-pilots – by automated vehicles that will save billions but will cost millions of jobs. It will be one of the biggest changes to the jobs market since the invention of the automated loom – challenging the livelihoods of millions across the world.

How imminent is this?

“I think this is imminent. Five years or so. This is a space race – the race to get the first driverless vehicle that is viable,” says Murphy. “My fellow drivers don’t appear to be particularly concerned about this. They think it’s way off into the future. All the people I have talked to on this book tour, nobody thinks this is imminent except for me. Me and Elon Musk, I guess.”

What type of legislation is being offered to support automation efforts?

The future is coming. Arguably it is already here. Several states have already laid the groundwork for a future with fewer truckers. California, Florida, Michigan and Utah have passed laws allowing trucks to drive autonomously in “platoons”, where two or more big rigs drive together and synchronize their movements.