Is the World Ready For A Self-Driving Taxi?
The self-driving taxi revolution has taken the world of technology by a storm. Companies such as Google, Lyft, GM and Uber have been racing to get these autonomous vehicles out on the road by 2020. This new automatic concept is solid evidence of how fast technology is being developed and how it is going to change the world economy. But, is the world ready for a self-driving taxi?
The Lyft and GM team plan to test their Chevrolet Bolt EV, an upcoming electric car installed with self- driving technology within this year. General Motors has invested $500 million to develop these cars and to conduct the testing program in a disclosed city. But now the question here is, what will happen to taxi drivers all over the world once these cars are out on the road and taking business away from regular taxi services?
More than 200,000 people in the US alone are taxi drivers, in which more than 90% are immigrants whose households solely depend on the income they make as cab drivers. Taxi companies that are not in the race to invent self-driving cars will surely go out of business once these cars are out on the road for public usage. This will have an effect on the economy as more than half the current taxi drivers in the US will lose their jobs.
Although the development of mobile apps to communicate and call upon self-driving cars will provide further usage of smartphones and technological communication, issues such as car malfunction need to be addressed.
The idea of self-driving cars reducing the congestion in cities, reducing traffic fatalities caused by human error and providing a service for the elderly and disabled to travel with ease and independence seems revolutionary. It will change the global economy.
But again, how effective are these cars at handling road emergencies, unexpected weather changes, giving precise directions to reach smaller unofficial streets and driving at a pace that suits the passengers? It is not a question of the world being ready for self-driving cars but a question of the world being ready to compensate the unemployment of taxi drivers and guaranteeing the certainty of fully transitioning these cars into the world economy.