Driverless Cars: Are People Nervous or Excited and What Is The Potential Jobs Impact?

7th December 2017
Driverless Cars Stacked Up

Chancellor Philip Hammond made some bold claims recently stating that he saw the UK as a pioneer for driverless cars and that he anticipated they would be legal on Britain’s roads in the next 4 years. In contrast, The Grand Tour host Jeremy Clarkson is less optimistic – claiming a driverless car that he tried made 2 potentially fatal mistakes within just 50 miles. So what does the future hold and how are people feeling about the potential impact on jobs from driverless technology?

Big Name Companies Pledge Involvement

Uber has announced it will buy 21,000 driverless cars for its autonomous fleet. Jaguar Land Rover began testing driverless cars on UK soil earlier this year and taxi service Lyft has partnered with technology partner nuTonomy to roll out driverless cars to members of the public in Boston. Linking the technology with the Lyft app, select passengers will get the driverless experience in order to understand the impact on daily living. In addition, never one to shy away from a challenge - Google is still testing its driverless cars in Arizona.  

A number of companies are racing to the finish line to become the first to release a safe, fully autonomous vehicle. There is certainly no shortage of interest among big business.

What About Jobs?

There are fears around jobs though. When the Chancellor was asked about this issue he responded with the need for up-skilling workers and not shirking away from change. He believes the driverless car industry could be worth billions to the UK economy.  

There is one study too, that indicated that owners of company cars would be among those welcoming driverless vehicles. Stressful work commutes could be eased by not needing to take the wheel at rush hour from Monday to Friday. The drive to and from work can add unneeded stress to the work day, something driverless cars could help with. 

Employees Who Drive for a Living

However the positive sentiments end there. In the US, a story by CBS discussed fears of taxi drivers in relation to being previously hurt by automation in the manufacturing industry. Where jobs from those working in steel were lost to machinery, many of those workers moved to driving cars, and they now fear a sense of déjà vu as history threatens to repeat itself. 

On the flip side of this, advocates of self driving technology argue that the move will create jobs as heavier human maintenance and servicing of cars will be needed given they will be on the road for 24 hours a day. Management of fleets will also require human logistical talent too.  


One thing is apparent and that is that powerful companies and government refuse to stilt progress in order to preserve driving jobs at present. It remains to be seen whether new jobs are created or lost as a result of the impending technology.

A number of companies are racing to the finish line to become the first to release a safe, fully autonomous vehicle.