The self-driving car has been a dream practically since the invention of the car.  For years automakers toyed with the idea of how to make a car that required no input from the driver.  Quite a few ideas have been floated over the years, but they were always impractical or too expensive.  All that appears to be changing and the self-driving car is no longer the stuff of science fiction or books on the future, they are here and sooner than we realize.  The question is no longer will we get the self-driving car, it is how much will the world change once they arrive.

We only like to think about the great benefits of the self-driving car. The first thing that comes to my mind, and I think most people’s mind, is the work commute.  Being able to grab a few more minutes of sleep in the car, finish up the work report, grab a shave, text my friends (some people already do these things while driving) and so on.  The self-driving car will also cut down on the commute time as the dreaded traffic jams will no longer be a part of your commute.  While this is what most people think of as the best part of the self-driving car, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

The self-driving car is going to change everything, not just your ability to do other things while in the car.  Let’s take a look at some of the jobs that will be impacted by the self-driving car; first let’s start with the chauffeur, I know a lot of us would like to get rid of that added expense every month, I know I would.  Seriously, I don’t have a chauffeur and I’ve never met anyone with a chauffer and I’ve never even met a chauffeur.

 

Moving along to jobs that will be lost that will end up effecting a lot of people, let’s start with police officers.  If all cars are self-driving, there will be no need for speed traps, DUI checkpoints and probably very little use for accident investigation.  Police will be free to focus on more important crimes, and towns and cities will need fewer police officers, since traffic cops will be almost unnecessary.  This will also free up our court systems, since traffic courts will no longer be a necessary evil.  This will also put the much hated red light camera companies out of business, along with radar detector companies and radar gun companies as well.  The one dilemma that will be caused by all of this is the revenue that is generated for each town from writing tickets.  This drop in revenue can be fixed by hiring fewer police officers, since none or very few will be necessary for traffic enforcement.

The next jobs that are very much in jeopardy are taxi and truck drivers, representing millions of jobs across the country.  For decades these have always been low skill, decent wage jobs for millions of Americans, but these jobs won’t be around much longer.  While this will lower the cost of delivering goods and services, there are 3.5 million professional truck/delivery drivers currently in the U.S.

Another industry that will be affected by these cars is the insurance industry, less human control, less accidents, lower insurance rates.  Insurance will most likely become no-fault insurance, that way insurance companies won’t have to argue over whose computer controlled car malfunctioned and caused the accident.  This will also mean that you won’t purchase insurance based on sex and age, since that statistic will no longer matter.

While it is fun to watch videos of self-driving cars and see the funny little Google car driving around, this is a technology that is going to change everything.  This isn’t some sci-fi dream, this is coming and it’s coming fast and it’s going to affect everyone.  I for one am looking forward to our new transportation overlordz, but I also know that it will affect life as we know it.