DRIVERLESS TRUCKS * USA: "Don’t mean mass unemployment"
* California - Uber drivers, and a new kinds of jobs
... The topic of automation and its implications for workers is inescapable—and often anxiety-inducing. Understandably so. Technology and social changes are poised to reshape nearly every aspect of what and how work gets done, and by whom... Even the much-anticipated emergence of driverless trucks could prove a boon for today’s drivers. The trucking industry faces a seemingly-chronic shortage of commercially licensed drivers, and the major industry group estimates that nearly 900,000 new drivers will be needed in the US over the next decade. The industry also faces high turnover and low interest from younger workers. Now consider one possible future that could occur soon, where autonomous trucks travel highways with a human “monitor” in the cab who can assist with particularly challenging driving like navigating city centers and ensure goods are delivered safely. Since the vehicles can operate for much longer periods without stopping, fewer total drivers would be needed, helping to alleviate the shortage. The jobs that remain could be less fatiguing and require shorter stints away from home (again, because the truck can operate almost constantly). Much depends, of course, on how both technology and regulation evolve, but we may find that there is a soft landing, as the current generation of truckers ages out and self-driving systems mature and become more widely adopted... A balanced approach means acknowledging that, yes, rideshare drivers in urban areas are likely going to see job changes and job pressures. Long-haul truckers, too, although likely later and more slowly. But it also means appreciating that new, potentially higher-value jobs are also likely to emerge, and that there can be society-wide benefits to these changes... California regulators release safety reports filed by 11 companies that have been testing self-driving car prototypes on public roads on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. The papers report the number of times in 2016 that human backup drivers took control from the cars' self-driving software, though companies argue such "disengagements" don't always reflect something going wrong...
(Image from AP, by Eric Risberg - Photo shows a row of Google self-driving Lexus cars at a Google event outside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif) -- Los Angeles, CAL, USA - QUARTZ - 1st. August 2017