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Autonomous Vehicles Blog - Driving the Future

Along with the numerous benefits that the autonomous vehicle revolution promises come real concerns over the potential impact on jobs. That is why the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce released a report titled The Employment Impact of Autonomous Vehicles, in which it hoped to identify the occupations most likely to be directly affected by the widespread business adoption of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

As we discussed previously on this blog, in recent years public policy officials and others have floated proposals to deal with automation via taxation – either a tax directly on “robots” themselves or a tax on capital gains that companies achieve through the use of automated technology.

When a group of four Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives released a report on September 5 titled The Future of Work, Wages, and Labor, they hoped to identify issues facing the American worker in an economy that is increasingly being poked, prodded, and transformed by new technologies, automation, and corporate consolidation of power. The scope of the report is far-reaching and ambitious, and signals potential policy goals and a host of new issues for employers should the Democrats take control of the House or the Senate—or both—in the future.

While many are aware testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is currently under way in states like California, Nevada, and Arizona, few realize Florida has created a legal framework to attract companies to build and test AV technology.

For those who live in large cities, the transformation of the automotive industry to a new era of autonomous vehicles and computer-aided transportation has already begun. By performing a quick search on YouTube, you can watch video of the first riders on driverless buses in Las Vegas and Detroit. In Columbus, Ohio, a low-speed driverless shuttle will soon begin operating on a specific downtown route.

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.

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