A Japanese company recently announced that they are starting a transportation service using robot (self-driving) buses. This is not a prototype, but an actual business that’s starting next month, dubbed the “Robot Shuttle.”
It’s designed mainly to shuttle people around large properties like shopping malls and university campuses, and employees at various workplaces.
You might think that this will replace employee drivers, but not necessarily. The company CEO says that there’s a lot of demand for these bus services, but not enough drivers. So the Robot Shuttle is creating a new service, not replacing people.
However, I’d venture to guess that once this technology is good enough to use on public roads, bus and taxi drivers who now work those routes will be looking for new jobs. And eventually all driving might become illegal as I predicted here.
But if you are concerned about robots replacing humans, don’t worry. This is just another example of the evolving workplace labor market. Since the industrial revolution, new inventions, machines and processes have replaced human beings in the workplace. While there have always been critics saying that these advancements will create massive unemployment, they’ve been consistently wrong. What actually happened was the reverse: much better employment levels and a rising standard of living that has benefited mankind around the world, as I recently wrote about in this LinkedIn post.
I’m looking forward to my first ride on the Robot Shuttle!
Image: DeNA EasyMile website