Much has been made of the potential benefits of driverless vehicles and automated technologies – from improved mobility to better road safety. But there are also concerns about the impact self-driving vehicles could have on existing transportation jobs.
Last year, the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) commissioned a report on the subject, which found that the driverless vehicle industry is actually on track to boost productivity and provide a range of new employment opportunities in Australia, despite potential job losses within the traditional transportation sector.
In the latest in our series of expert interviews on DriverlessGuru.com, we spoke to ADVI Executive Director Rita Excell to find out more about what driverless vehicles might mean for industry jobs, and what support ADVI thinks might be required for industry retraining and skills.
In the interview, Excell says that ADVI commissioned the report to “answer the tough questions about which jobs will be lost”, while also exploring which new jobs will be created.
“We are confident that there are a range of new job opportunities to be created by the automated vehicle industry and the development and increased use of new driverless vehicle technologies,” says Excell.
At the same time, she notes, “any job losses experienced within the traditional transportation sector will be offset by the many jobs created within the engineering, automotive, electrical and software industry sectors”, as these are called on to service and support the driverless vehicle industry.
While ADVI’s report focused on Australia, its findings apply well beyond just one country, believes Excell. “It is reasonable to assume a raft of new jobs to be created across professional, scientific and technical services industries – especially in those developed countries that are heavily investing in automated vehicle technologies.”
During the interview, we also discuss what the shift to driverless vehicles is likely to mean for retraining and skills in the sector, and the opportunities likely to be opened up by completely new roles.
“Just as we have seen quite mainstream jobs transition over the course of time – such as blacksmiths, milkmen, elevator and switchboard operators – the introduction of driverless vehicles will create jobs that haven’t even been considered yet,” predicts Excell.