A coalition of transportation-related companies and associations is looking to study the human impact of self-driving vehicle technologies through a new collaborative group called the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity.
PTIO is aimed at exploring how autonomous vehicles could impact the American worker and also look for opportunities to address potential future challenges. PTIO members include the American Trucking Associations, Daimler, FedEx, Ford, Lyft, Toyota Motor North America, Uber, and Waymo.
While fully autonomous vehicle technology is still a ways off, it is already apparent how it could disrupt industries that currently rely on drivers and subsequently change employment in these areas.
Autonomous vehicles could also provide many benefits, according to the group, including safer roads, increased access to mobility, reduced traffic, improved air quality, and cost savings. PTIO said it intends to gather data and host real-life demonstrations to more develop a more complete picture of how the technology will be developed.
“As with any prior technological revolution, the transition from traditional to autonomous vehicles will not happen overnight,” said Maureen Westphal, PTIO executive director. “This evolution should allow adequate time for us to understand how autonomous vehicles may change the way we live and work and implement policies and programs to respond proactively to, and allow all Americans benefits from, those changes.”
PTIO’s announced goals for its first six months include:
- Developing a well-rounded and data-based understanding of the impact of autonomous vehicles on the future of work
- Soliciting the expertise, concerns, and aspirations of interested parties
- Fostering awareness of existing and near-term career opportunities for workers during the transition to an autonomous-vehicle-enabled economy
“Those currently working in the transportation industry— both on the ground and behind the scenes—are in the best position to shed light on how this transformation may change our lives,” said Westphal. “Now is the time to engage stakeholders in an open dialogue about this evolving technology.”