Six jobs will go as a result of self-driving cars

This group has experienced the fastest rate of technological advancement. Technology has advanced significantly, and it has only just started. From analogue cameras to digital cameras to drones, painful snail mail to wireless internet, each technological development has required less and less labor to operate. Where does technology end as it pursues autonomy, though? How far is excessive? Even though change is unavoidable, that does not mean that it is always for the best. This is significant because one must always take new technological implications—both positive and negative—into account.

"Driverless" transportation is one of the current developments in technology that is causing a stir. However unbeknownst to many, the first “driverless” car dates back to as early as 1925 when Houdina Radio Control created the first “driverless” car, controlled by a second car following closely behind him. (Weber 283) Since then, companies like GM and Chrysler have followed suit. Google is arguably the most famous company in developing the driverless car. In 2009, they began the self-driving project. (Birdsall) This project which has recently been renamed as “Waymo” boasts over 2 million miles self-driven on both complex city streets and even public highways. But just like any advent in technology, it comes with its own sets of pros and cons. My discussion of the semi-autonomy of “driverless” cars is in fact addressing the larger matter of the numerous jobs that will lost because of this.

Personal Drivers

The occupation that would be most affected by the driverless cars would of course be personal drivers. Despite the fact that many experts say that the transition to semi-automatic transportation will be long and difficult, it goes without saying that should that time come, personal drivers will be a thing of the past. The number of personal drivers have already dwindled dramatically in the recent decade as cars became cheaper to own and easier to drive.

Valets/Parking Attendants

While personal drivers are considered a luxury to many, valets and parking attendants are more accessible and a cheaper alternative especially on those luxurious nights out. Parking is always a hassle especially when it means having to walk from your space in your fancy outfit to however far the main entrance is. Valets and Parking Attendants have always afforded the middle classman alternative of one aspect of driving taken cared for you.

Drivers of Transportation Network Companies

The last couple of years have seen the technological boom of crowdsourcing and vehicles are no exception to that. Uber, Lyft, and Grab are hugely successful companies that have capitalized on that, offering a convenient form of transportation without the commitment and high cost of the previously mentioned options. It’s like pretending to have a driver when you don’t even have your car. When the time comes that “driverless” cars become more mainstream, these companies will probably find a way to integrate it into their systems however, this would mean eliminating the need for actual human drivers.

Delivery Drivers

Advancements in technology have made things more convenient but it has also made human beings lazier. That being said, nothing has fed into this culture quite like delivery. Drivers have gone from bike messengers to pizza delivery boys to full-fledged trucks sending all types of packages often even within the same day. It already goes without saying that “driverless” cars will make any job that needs a driver obsolete but delivery drivers are more than just drivers. They have the unique skills of knowing the best routes and how to get to their destinations at the best possible time. Seasoned delivery drivers go as far as to knowing the timing of traffic lights or anticipating rush hours.

Bus/Public Transportation Drivers

It is important to note that of course all drivers would lose their jobs in the age of “driverless” cars but considering how essential public transportation is to any society, the number of public transportation drivers who would lose their jobs is noteworthy. Driving is a skill, especially when you have to do so at specific routes for long periods of time….

Traffic Enforcers

Of course traffic enforcers would be obsolete in the age of semi-autonomic transportation. No drivers would mean no traffic. One of Google’s favorite claims about “driverless” cars is that it is safer and make traffic smoother. On the other hand, driver accountability would be difficult as there multiple things that could go wrong should an accident actually happen. Wireless technology in all its forms has made it incredibly easy for humans to place the blame on the myriad of technical errors that could go wrong, Traffic enforcers will have to level up from knowing the basic rules of traffic to learning much more advanced computer skills in order to monitor it efficiently and effectively.


Conventional wisdom claims that there is change is always better. My own view, however, is that change is only better if you take into account where you came from. Should the day come that “driverless” cars become a standard means of transportation, society must aspire to have a smooth transition and consider the people whose livelihoods who will be affected. Just because they won’t be needed anymore doesn’t change the fact that they were once imperative to functioning society.

Works Cited

Birdsall, Michelle. "Google and ITE: The road ahead for self-driving cars." Institute of Transportation Engineers. ITE Journal 84.5 (2014): 36.

Weber, Joe. "SMART CARS." Minicars, Maglevs, and Mopeds: Modern Modes of Transportation Around the World: Modern Modes of Transportation around the World (2016): 283.

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