The US Department of Transportation and Technology has announced that they will modify national regulations for what constitutes a “driver” to include autonomous vehicles.
In their own words they plan to “adapt the definitions of ‘driver’ and ‘operator’ to recognize that such terms to not refer exclusively to a human, but may in fact include an automated system.”
There is a lot of concern over automation replacing workers, especially from truckers and other people who drive professionally. However, labor economists claim that autonomous vehicles won’t become popular enough until the mid 2040s. Even then they say that there wont be much of an impact. You cant blame the public for being skeptical. History has proven that people are not that great at predicting the future.
Regardless, the DoTT will begin to co-operate with the Department of Labor, Commerce, Health and Human Services to try and figure out how autonomous vehicles will effect the workforce ahead of time, as well as what kind of training people will need to adapt.
US presidential candidate Andrew Yang believes that automation will start replacing truckers in about 5 years, and that they could end up on welfare or disability as a result. He argues that we need basic income to counteract the impending job loss and/or less expensive means of transportation in order for workers to go back to school and retrain. In fact this is a major part of his campaign and allegedly why decided to run in the first place.
Ironically enough automation could help with decreased transportation costs by reducing how much it costs for businesses to put vehicles on the road.
Right now autonomous vehicle regulation is kind of a free for all. In the US some states allow autonomous driving while others don’t making any sort of logistics difficult to plan if your a national business. However, the Department of Transportation can essentially over-ride state regulations although they’ve made it clear that states will still be involved in the decision making process.
Coverphoto credit: The Independent