Uber To Introduce Driverless Car Services

Nicholas Chang 11/22/2017

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Beginning in 2019, the ride-share app Uber may be introducing driverless cars. Uber has recently made a deal with the European vehicle company Volvo to purchase twenty-four thousand self-driving cars, after having been testing them for an entire year. This brings the possibility of being able to summon a computer-controlled car for a ride in a system optimized for efficiency.

         The exact terms of the deal are not public yet, but both have confirmed that the deal is definitely not exclusive. Volvo will still sell driverless cars to other companies, and Uber will still be open to purchases from other suppliers.

         Uber, according to its co-founder, employs some two million drivers. Though it is not a career for most of them, and many work only when convenient, these self-driving cars have massive implications for all those drivers who could soon be losing a source of income. It also poses several ethics and safety questions in circumstances where the computer must decide to save either its passengers or the lives of others on the road in an emergency situation.

         Uber continues to innovate with their largely decentralized business model, using the power of the internet to make transportation more convenient. It is also reshaping the way we view employment, in that employees are able to work with the most flexible schedule in existence; completely on demand.

         Still, the advantages of driverless cars are numerous too, and not all experts are so apocalyptic. Uber was famously beset with safety concerns after a man was caught committing murders between trips in Kalamazoo, Michigan several years ago. Getting into a driverless car may make people feel safer than getting into a stranger’s car. Technology has been phasing out what used to be extremely common jobs since the industrial revolution began nearly 200 years ago, yet it has created far more jobs in places people of the era never dreamed of. It is a great economic myth that automation results in net job loss, while there may be initial job loss, the economic growth that ensues will produce a greater amount of wealth (and therefore jobs and economic opportunity).

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