It may sound like a work of science fiction to be driven around in a car with no driver; however, self-driving cars are set to hit the market soon. While it will produce a new level of comfort for long drives, giving respite to drivers, what will it mean for the business that has human drivers at its center?
Automated driving means a human driver is no longer required, which could result in job losses. At the same time, the chauffeured service providers would benefit in terms of paying salaries to chauffeurs. However, it may not be as simple as that. Lets’s see what the industry professionals have to say about this.
- Human Chauffeurs Will Need to Be Trained to Monitor Self-Driving Cars
“The introduction of self-driving cars would presumably affect the chauffeured transportation industry because eventually, human drivers would no longer be needed. At least, that’s what self-driving cars mean, but it’s not entirely true.
“In 2018, a Tesla Model X crashed onto a highway lane divider killing the driver shortly afterward. Investigations into the incident revealed that the car had warned the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel severally before the accident. If this is to go by (a critical concern, by the way), even a self-driving luxury limo would need a standby driver.
“There was another incident in 2019 when a self-driving Uber taxi crashed and killed a pedestrian. Investigations placed the driver at the center of the accident because she was watching an episode of the Voice when the accident took place. Given that it was found that the driver had her eyes off the road for at least a third of the time, it’s clear that these self-driving cars need constant monitoring by the drivers.
“Another thing about self-driving cars is the parking and calling of the vehicles from a garage. Chauffeured transportation shouldn’t involve the client in the operation of the car. A driver is still needed for those actions that require human intervention and bad weather when the navigation systems are not 100% reliable. Chauffeured transportation will need to train drivers on monitoring the cars and not sacking the drivers as many would assume.”
Ella Hao, Chief Marketing Officer at Clooms
- Chauffeur Will Take on A Supervisory Role
“The embrace and continued growth of the self-driven automobile sector means that the chauffeur’s role now evolves into a supervisory one. Although self-driving cars look to eliminate the human element in the driving of vehicles, it is near impossible to achieve smooth tech driving without a human driver behind the will. Humans respond better to impromptu instances such as the self-driving vehicle needing to break if a car joins its lane suddenly. While the self-driving car will simply rely on sensors to avert any accidents, a human’s critical thinking still outdoes this.
“Self-driving cars are here to aid the chauffeurs and not replace them totally. Even with advancements, we will still need chauffeurs to ensure everything is working properly.”
Katherine Brown, Co-Founder of Spyic; a company engaged in parental control and remote monitoring programs.
- Job Losses
“Nowadays, the Chauffeured transport industry relies on human drivers & their driving skills. Now the introduction of self-driving vehicles will affect both the Drivers & as well as the chauffeured ones. The driver will lose their jobs as this automated feature won’t allow them to work on whereas the owner will have an advantage of not hiring drivers & paying them, but they will still have to pay high maintenance for this. This technology is based on artificial intelligence & machine learning, which uses seamless network connections to communicate. While maintaining such a high technical gadget in different terrain & conditions will require proper maintenance & care.” (Miranda Yan)
- Increase in the Costs of Auto-Chauffeured Vehicles
“While in the present condition, the chauffeured transportation industry hires their driver to maintain & operate their vehicles. This allows these professionals to take care of this maintenance & operational responsibility. But after the introduction of driverless cars, all have to be taken care of by the owners themselves or hire some professional for it. This will increase the cost of ownership. Some security issues will also arise as the technology will be more vulnerable to the cyber threat of being dependent on wireless network protocol.” (Miranda Yan)
- Beneficial for the Chauffered Company Owners
“But apart from this, it has many advantages to experience as an owner. They won’t be prone to human error while driving or distracted driving. Safety measures which now many drivers avoid will not be an issue, as it will be done automatically, which will include passenger safety & vehicle health scanning. Time & fuel will both be saved with increased traffic efficiency. Many other losses can be avoided, which happen due to human error or human behavioral mistakes.
Concludingly this new technology of driverless cars is not a good sign for driving professionals. Still, at the same time, with some security measures, it will be beneficial to the Chauffeured transport industry.”
Miranda Yan, Co-Founder of VinPit
While there is no doubt about the arrival of self-driving cars in the markets, it wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of chauffeurs and drivers. No automated system is perfect or without error. Human intervention and supervision would always be paramount.