The Economic Impact of Self-Driving Cars

Technology appears to have a significant impact in almost every industry, especially in today’s inter-connected world. The same is true of the transportation industry with self-driving cars fast becoming a reality. Several companies like Google, BMW, Hyundai and Audi has already made huge investments in the self-driving market. So it’s only a matter of time before self-driving cars will eventually replace manually driven cars. This imminent revolution comes with one major downside: autonomous cars are going to leave a large number of people jobless. With major companies already pushing for autonomous features, the threat against American jobs is immediate.
Exactly which Jobs Are At Risk?
According to the data released by the Bureau of labor Statistics in 2016, there are about 1.6 million American truck drivers earning an average income of $42,000. This figure represents more than half a percent of the country and approximately $67 billion dollars in income which is about 0.3% of the US GDP. Even though the new trucks are not fully automated at the moment, there will be a time when the technology is going to get there. And when that happens, about 2.4million people may have to look for new jobs (Including delivery truck operators).
But that’s not all; the bigger impact is when it comes to service drivers including taxi drivers, bus drivers — and of course more recently, Uber drivers. It’s easy to imagine that as autonomous vehicle technology improves, there will be no need for human operator and that would potentially render the following people jobless: 160,000 Uber drivers, 180,000 taxi drivers, 160,000 transit bus drivers, 500,000 school bus drivers, which gives a grand total of 1 million jobs. Now if we throw in a bit of speculation think of potential peripheral jobs that may also be affected such as auto body repair shops, parking lots attendant, rental car agencies, street meter maids and more. Although not all these people would lose their jobs completely, the fact is these industries would be drastically affected.
The Economic Benefits of Autonomous Cars
Now that we’ve examined the list of potential jobs are at risk, let’s consider the potential benefits that we can hope to enjoy once self-driving cars become the norm. Consider some of these benefits -
Lower Accident Rates
It has been predicted that use of self-driving cars could see a reduction in crash rates up to 90 percent. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of driverless. Machines don’t have human flaws; they don’t get road rage, text while driving or violate traffic laws. They don’t get drowsy, distracted, or have blind spots. There’s nothing else on their “minds” other than getting you safely from point A to point B. And not limiting the benefits to human transportation. Tiny self-driving cars can work effortlessly in warehouses and factories while larger ones can work in construction sites and open-pit mines. And as a result, individuals will spend less on car maintenance and repairs as well as health bills related to automotive accidents.
Lower Insurance Premiums
Insurance Premiums are calculated based on the level of risk posed by the insured. Having established that self-driving cars are significantly safer than the average human driver, insurance costs will reduce.
Traffic Efficiency
Autonomous cars are hardly involved in accidents, as a result, they have a high potential to ease traffic congestion. In addition, because self-driving cars can communicate with each other, they would eradicate the need for traffic signals. Improved traffic coordination will result in lesser traffic congestion.
The bottom line is that autonomous cars have the potential to be an improbable new wave in the future of humanity. Talk about the possibility of eliminating risk while driving, improving productivity and a host of other benefits. Self-driving cars present a wide range of uses and an enormous new technological world.

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