The National Limousine Association (http://limo.org) says president Trump should protect the American worker given Uber’s open push for autonomous vehicles. In an open letter excerpted below, Co-Founder Scott Solombrino responds to Uber’s move from its current model of ride-sharing using freelance drivers to owning a fleet of autonomous cars.
“As you are aware (debatable, if not refutable – editor), our country was founded on the principal that hard working Americans have a standard set of protections afforded to them by law, and that all reasonable efforts will be made to keep people employed who have a desire and ability to work… individuals have faced increasing threats as jobs become automated. The latest of these threats is coming from autonomous motor vehicles … and the views and practices put forth by the companies advocating for their development.
(See AutoInformed.com on: Michigan Makes Rules for The Research, Testing, Use, and Ultimately Public Sale of Autonomous Vehicles, Ford Places $1B Bet in Argo AI on Autonomous Vehicles, 2017 SAE World Congress – Automated Technology, Autonomous Vehicles Star, Former NHTSA Head Rosekind’s Zoox Move Questionable, Mercedes-Benz Car Sharing Expands to Berlin via Croove, Toyota Begins Alliance with Grab Ride-Hailing Service, Mobility Company or Automaker? Toyota Signs MOA with Uber, Execs from Uber, Intel Speaking at SAE Convergence)
“…Uber’s Head of Automotive Alliances, Jeff Miller who was recently quoted in The Guardian as saying of ride-hailing companies ‘It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove that vehicle operator from the equation.’ Uber is a business that has built its existence on the hard work and labor of its drivers, profited off of the revenue generated by hardworking Americans and now it has publicly stated that its goal is to rid itself of the majority of its workforce.
“While it is true that this technology can be adapted to greatly enhance road safety, it cannot be implemented at the expense of the millions of drivers who depend on this income to survive. This technology also cannot be used in lieu of a human. There are simple decisions that only a human can and should make, ethical split-second judgements that have the potential to impact dozens of lives that cannot be left to a computer. No mother, brother, sister or father will ever accept that their loved one perished because a computer made a decision.
“As recently reported by CBS News, ‘at least 10 million US jobs have a high risk of bowing to automation in the next decade as companies deploy machines that can learn and perform tasks.’ Specifically, over 1.8 million truck drivers‘ jobs are now on the line. Some estimates peg the number of jobs in the U.S that rely on driving at 20 million, this cannot be ignored.
“… If this innovation is to move forward, I call on you to make sure the men and women that voted for you are well represented throughout all stages of the process…To be put simply, it is your promise and your prerogative to ensure that the American worker is protected and allowed to prosper (based on what evidence – editor?). Drivers are voters, computers are not. This will be among your most enduring legacies as President, and I urge you to speak out on this issue and come to the aid of hard-working American drivers.