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.

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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?”