As far as I can tell, the prospect of autonomous vehicles has generated controversy along two lines, legal issues and the right to drive, but of course, I also forgot about the third line, the ignorant.
Autonomous vehicles have the promise to reduce traffic congestion, accidents, road rage, and possibly even fuel consumption. Those who have long commutes might appreciate a break from paying attention to a long monotonous commute broken by the occasional horn blast, cursing, and flipping of the bird. (Can you tell I used to commute in New Jersey?) On the other hand, there are those who love to drive, so would there be a place for them on the same roads with autonomous vehicles? Finally, this lack of attention on the part of the driver, could it mean life or death in the last ¼-second before an accident? What are the legal ramifications? Clearly, autonomous vehicles have a lot to work out before they go mainstream, but what can they do about this comment…
“I think that’s just going to put people out of work. You’re going to have to send these cars back to the shop. I can’t see anybody doing work on these things. I mean, you have to be so sophisticated. And I guess that’s where we’re headed. So can anybody tell me if we’re going to put people out of work?” New Jersey Representative Albio Sires.
First of all, vehicles are becoming more advanced every year, and professional automobile technicians are doing their best to keep up with the changing times, including new tools, new methods, and continuing education. Having spent the last ten years of my career as a Master Automobile Technician, I can tell you there are things that no untrained technician should touch. Dealing with electric vehicles, even hybrid electric vehicles, with untrained hands, might get you killed. Those vehicles get sent to the specialists.
Dealing with autonomous vehicles will be no different. True, there will still be a place for technicians changing tires and brakes, engine maintenance, body work and painting, among a myriad other professions, but anything to do with the autonomous drive systems will have to go to the specialists. Don’t worry, Representative Sires, there’s still plenty of work for the technicians, even on the autonomous vehicles.
Image © FreeDigitalPhotos.net