Self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles are slowly defining the future of the auto industry. As carmakers race to develop and improve on this technology, a new research reveals its impact could also spill over job availability for Americans.
Analysis from Goldman Sachs showed self-driving cars could steal 300,000 jobs a year from human drivers. It projected fully autonomous vehicles will replace people whose livelihood involves driving a taxi, bus or truck by as much as 25,000 jobs per month, according to its report on its official site.
Of the approximated four million professional drivers in the United States, three million are truck drivers, as per The Drive. Thus, they are the ones most likely to experience the bulk of the loss.
The impact of self-driving cars on jobs could be felt as early as next year when Tesla launches its driverless cars. The impact could worsen by 2042 as the analyst projected sales of autonomous cars will increase to 20 percent. By this time, regulations on self-driving cars could solidify and social acceptance and adaptation will no longer be a barrier.
"When you have an autonomous vehicle, it can go 24 hours a day," Terry D. Kramer of the UCLA Anderson School of Management said, as per CBS Los Angeles. He also cited self-driving cars entice "fewer accidents and more productivity."
Billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet expressed similar concerns about self-driving cars in a meeting with shareholders in early May. He acknowledged the technology is unstoppable but it will "hurt" businesses and workers, especially truck drivers. "I would say that driverless trucks are a lot more of a threat than an opportunity," he said, as per Daily Mail.
Apart from Tesla, Google and Uber are currently testing self-driving cars. Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Nissan, Audi, Ford and General Motors also announced plans to launch self-driving cars in selected markets, which could hit roads from 2020-2025.