India chooses jobs over self-driving cars


Ford Fusion autonomous car prototype

Ford Fusion autonomous car prototype

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The self-driving car is a hot topic in the automotive industry. Who will get there first? How will it change transportation and the new car market? How safe will autonomous cars be?

All of these questions and more are on the minds of those in the auto industry, as well as governments around the world.

But there is one other consideration: when the driverless car arrives full force, what impact will it have on jobs? It could spell the end of employment for taxi, Lyft, and Uber drivers.

With this in mind, India is choosing to pass on the driverless car. India's union road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, told the The Hindustan Times: "We won't allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this. In a country where you have unemployment, you can't have a technology that ends up taking people's jobs."

Gadkari also noted that India would be opening 100 training facilities to address the country's need to recruit 22,000 more commercial drivers.

Gadkari admitted the policy may not last. "Maybe some years down the line we won't be able to ignore it, but as of now, we shouldn't allow it," he said.

Inderpreet Kaur, an analyst at research firm Ovum, told BBC News that India's road system would be an obstacle to autonomous car as well. "The ministry has cited job losses as a reason behind banning autonomous cars in India, a bigger challenge would be to have ready infrastructure for these self-driving cars," he said.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Congress is looking to unify numerous state bills into a single bill to allow companies to develop and test self-driving cars.

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