How can truck-driver jobs fit into a driverless economy?
Source: Mobility Lab | By: Ethan Goffman
This is Part 1 of a series on how autonomous vehicles could affect U.S. society.
Collaborate with Venture Smarter members working or interested in autonomous transportation.
Driverless trucks and cars are likely coming soon. They are envisioned to save time and money and help the environment – but they may also throw millions out of work.
In a society that largely identifies worth through what one does, the economic shock may be matched by the social one. In the shorter term, the safety of these cars must be ensured before bringing them online, while it is vital to cushion working people. In the longer term, driverless trucks, taxis, and buses are just one wave in a tsunami of automation likely to challenge notions of the meaning of work and, indeed, of human existence itself.
For the Teamsters Union, the shorter term is prominent.
“Why is it a robot-car apocalypse?” asked Kara Deniz, senior communications coordinator for the Teamsters, in a phone interview. “Why can’t we have a conversation about what can happen to protect workers?”
Waymo’s autonomous trucking program is coming along – though we haven’t heard much about it since discovering it was a real thing last year, Waymo recently announced that it’s launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics.
Applying smart surface techniques throughout a city could even the playing field and create greater equity while greatly improving health and quality of life for low-income residents.Smart surfaces can have an effect on surrounding areas and not just the city that integrates them, the report says. Reducing urban heat and smog does not just happen within a city's borders, so entire regions could benefit from a city investing in smart surfaces.
Quanergy, a leading provider of solid state lidar sensors and smart sensing systems, is collaborating with Cisco to create IoT (Internet of Things) solutions for smart transportation.
Venture Smarter, The City of Cincinnati, and Cintrifuse are presenting the second Smart Cincy Summit on April 26, 2018 at Union Hall focusing on the Internet of Transportation. “Last year’s summit was a catalyzing event about what we wanted to do in the region,” said Venture Smarter founder Zack Huhn. “This year we’re shining a light on some projects that are actually in the works.”
Elon Musk has shifted his pans for The Boring Company: While it will still focus on digging tunnels to provide a network of underground tubes suitable for use by high-speed Hyperloop pods, the plan now is to use that Hyperloop to transport pedestrians and cyclists first, and then only later to work on moving cars around underground to bypass traffic.
UC engineering professor Jiaqi Ma envisions smart cars navigating traffic in synchronicity with the road and each other. Autonomous technology is likely to be deployed in stages, which means driverless cars will share the road with human drivers. But UC’s Ma envisions a time not too far in the future when enough driverless vehicles will be on the road to work together as an efficient “platoon” that coordinates its movements.
St. Louis is the latest city to experiment with the microtransit trend, which has been getting a lot of attention in recent months. A number of cities in California — including Sacramento and Los Angeles — have been early adopters of microtransit pilot programs.
Recently, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus have all been ramping up efforts around smart technology and policy planning and development. At the state level, leaders have recently formed Drive Ohio, and have been actively investing in growing tech-based and tech-enabled economies.
Ride-sharing startups like Uber and Lyft have been notorious for clashing with city leaders as they expand. Now, as many transportation startups are looking in the direction of autonomous technology, 15 of them have signed a joint mobility pledge, outlining for skeptical city leaders how they aim to create more livable, sustainable cities.
Thea Walsh, Transportation Systems and Funding Director for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, laid out a long list of the state’s projects and progress at the Intelligent Transportation, Systems, and Infrastructure in Smart Regions panel discussion hosted at last month’s Smart Regions Congress in Washington, DC.