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Autonomous Vehicles Blog - Driving the Future

Posts from September 2018.

Congress recently took action that would otherwise make it seem as if it is apprehensive of the robotic revolution and perhaps even hesitant to support AV initiatives in the near future. Late last month, the Senate approved an appropriations package that specifically blocked government funding for the development of “beerbots” – automated bartenders that mix and serve drinks without the need for human intervention. HR 6157 funds many federal agencies and provides funding for a number of congressional pet projects, but thanks to an amendment included by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and approved by the Senate, the appropriations bill prohibits the Defense Department from spending money on “the development of a beerbot or other robot bartender.” According to Bloomberg’s Tyrone Richardson, this provision was included to halt the flow of government research money on an MIT robot bartender development program. If the government is concerned about automated drink delivery systems steering jobs from human bartenders and cocktail servers, does this spell trouble for government funding of AV initiatives?

In an interview with Thomson Reuters, Michael Greco, chair of Fisher Phillips’ new Autonomous Vehicles Practice Group, discusses the launch of the practice with legal correspondent Daniel Wiessner.

An autonomous vehicle (AV) is driving with its passenger when suddenly a child steps into the street. The AV has a choice: hit the child or swerve into oncoming traffic risking the life of the passenger and possibly others. Tragically, the AV hits the child.

In Columbus, Ohio, negotiations between the Central Ohio Transit Authority and the Transportation Workers Union of America are currently underway in the midst of what government officials call a “tsunami of job change” resulting from the surge of automated intelligence in the workplace.

$1,500,000,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros. But $1.5 Trillion is also the value of cargo that was transported through the shipping industry in U.S. ports alone in 2016, affecting and including over 3 million jobs on the coasts and Great Lakes regions.

You know that thing, where you’re in an Uber or Lyft and you just want silence?  But your driver is one of those awesome drivers who is rated really high and has great conversation skills—so they keep engaging you in conversation and you can’t have your silence? Well, if Lyft and Aptiv have their way, those experiences will be a thing of the past. Well, maybe.

Over a century ago, in 1898, urban planners from around the world met in New York City to discuss urban transportation. Although the automobile had been invented over a decade earlier by the founders of Mercedes-Benz, it was still a novelty item, reserved for the rich. Railroads were the primary means of city-to-city transportation, and horses were the primary means of transportation within cities—as they had been since the time of the Romans. 

The widespread concern that thousands of trucking jobs will be eliminated by the advent of Autonomous Vehicles (“AV”) has been called into question by a new workforce study from the American Center for Mobility (“ACM”) which found that self-driving technology will support, not displace, truck drivers. 

Tags: Trucking

It’s inevitable. As your organization unveils a driverless vehicle program (or just about any automation or AI platform) designed to promote efficiency and safety, you will hear the same chorus from your workforce: “Are we going to lose our jobs to the robots?” The fear and uncertainty is a natural by-product of the transformation being introduced at your company. It is incumbent on you and your leadership team, however, to manage this anxiety.

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