With the world of automobiles getting more aware of itself, it’s become imperative that at some point, the thousands of drivers using driving as a job will have to rethink the way they make themselves valuable to their employers. It’s easy to consider the endless possible negative scenarios that could be born from the era of driverless cars, but if we chose to be active in the transition, I believe, and you should too, that there could be many positives. Self driving cars could open up possibilities we perhaps haven’t even thought of. I could hear the exasperation leaving the mouths of many Americans as they read the next line.
What if I told you, there will be a time when families only have one car?
One car that took the kids to school in the morning then came back and drove Mom to work. What if the car could take your teenager to the local Starbucks to meet up with their friends while you grocery shopped and you knew it would show up in time to pick you up and take you home? In fact there’s professionals who believe that people won’t own cars at all, but instead will use taxi services as a main source of transportation.
And what does this mean for society?
A world with fewer cars would lower pollution levels. It could free up traffic jams and provide people with extra time to do things they might not have time to do while driving. Like catch up on the book they’ve been waiting to read or prepare themselves for the days work. Although I’ve exhausted this page with questions already, I’ll ask the most important one.
Why couldn’t we still have drivers?
Uber is a really successful startup that if you haven’t heard about by now, you’ve probably been living under a rock. It’s the new generation’s taxi. I’ve spent a significant amount of time in Uber and there’s been plenty of drivers who have developed really neat ways of standing out. A really nice lady the other day had caramel apple lollipops in her cup holder for her guests. Some have water bottles or are adamant about getting you to choose your own tunes and this is the answer to driverless cars.
I asked a few Uber drivers about what they thought on the subject and received various answers. Most responded in the same way. A mixture of mild grief that they would possibly lose Uber as a source of income and acceptance that this is where they saw the world heading.
One driver, Steve replied, “The only chauffeured cars that will stick around might be high-end ones. Where the driver is more than just a driver, but a sort of concierge who caters to the riders every whim. That’s something a driverless car can’t do.”
Drivers would most likely still be needed in cars to be able to hit the emergency button in case of any malfunctions. They’ll need to be well skilled with car maintenance, able to replace tires and quickly fix issues and like with all businesses their focus will turn to great customer service. How can they make the experience unique and enjoyable? They’ll chat with you about the area you’re exploring or maybe set a relaxing mood to allow you to enjoy the ride. Drivers who evolve into a useful tool will ultimately survive.
Whether we realize it or not, we’re losing a sense of human touch. We’re being surrounded by media and living in code. As our lives entwine with the digital we’ll long for a sense of self. We’ll need a warm expression and we’ll realize just how important having a person behind the wheel or maybe even sitting with us will make a huge difference in our day. I urge Uber and Lyft to consider using their drivers in newer more productive ways that could improve the service as opposed to going completely driverless and I’m completely positive there will be companies that utilize the driver in newer more creative ways.
So drivers don’t lose faith. I ask, that instead, we get more creative. We find reasons to add value to our work, and to utilize our new tools to reinvent the world we live in.