India’s Government Wants to Ban Self-Driving Cars to Save Jobs

Otto's self-driving truck
Otto's self-driving truck - Courtesy Steve Jurvetson

“We won’t allow driverless cars in India,” said India’s minister of transport, Nitin Gadkari. “I am very clear on this. We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment, you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs.”

In recent years India has seen a boom in the demand for drivers thanks to ride-sharing services like Ola and Uber that completed a combined 500 million rides last year. The country is currently facing an acute truck driver shortage causing an estimated 10% of its truck fleet to sit idle this year due to a lack of qualified drivers.

India’s government is keen to lower its unemployment rate and provide good paying jobs through the hiring of truck drivers and has plans to open one hundred driver training institutes across India in the coming years.

A Waymo self-driving car on the road in Mountain View.
A Waymo self-driving car on the road in Mountain View. – Courtesy Grendelkhan, Wikimedia Commons

Minister Gadkari’s statements put the India’s government at odds with some of the world’s biggest companies who are rushing to bring self-driving cars to the market.

Ford’s executive chairman, Bill Ford Jr, has said that he feels “quite confident” that the hardware and software will be ready by 2021 for self-driving cars.

Uber’s self-driving truck makes its first delivery on US roads,

Local and national governments around the world are mostly embracing the potential for self-driving cars, with legislation already on the books in a number of US states to permit their use. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have expressed support for self-driving cars.

In Singapore, the government has partnered with nuTonomy and began testing Mitsubishi i-MiEv “robo-taxis” on public roads last year. The project hopes to have 100 robo-taxis in use in Singapore by the end of 2018.

A recent study from Intel estimated the economic impact of the coming global self-driving car industry at $7 trillion by 2050.


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