Driverless Cars: The Backlash Begins

By | 31 May, 2015

Hailo driverless cars, sdv, self-driving cars, protests

Protests against driverless cabs: Images of cab drivers projected onto London landmarks.Image Credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire 

Hailo Protests Plans for UK Investment in Self-Driving Technologies

In a swipe against the impending future of driverless transport, taxi app Hailo has sponsored protests in London recently against a city without cabdrivers.

As Hailo CMO Gary Bramall said,

“People don’t want robots; they need to know that their driver will get them from A to B safely and securely.

“Cabbies have been a part of this city for hundreds of years and the move towards driverless cars is killing not only an entire profession, but a huge part of Britain’s heritage.”

Doth Protest Too Much?

Hailo itself was the target of angry protests last year when its London offices were vandalized by drivers feeling threatened by the loss of their livelihood. Taxi drivers in cities across Europe staged demonstrations and brought traffic to a halt in similar protests last year.

In light of this precious protest against Hailo, industry observers question whether the software provider is sincere in its complaints, or is perhaps currying favor with the cab industry.

Record UK Budget for Self-Driving Tech

This year’s protests were triggered by the announcement by Chancellor George Osborne of a proposed £100 million investment in driverless technologies. This is in addition to last year’s ground-breaking autonomous transport trials in several UK cities. This level of financial commitment signals a new chapter in the driverless revolution.

The Invisible Hand Writes, and Having Writ, Moves On

Adam Smith was a Scotsman, not as Londoner, but his invisible hand seems to be at work. It’s hard to see how any protest, no matter how well-intentioned, can alter the basic economic facts as they are coming into play.

And while this may be just the beginning of the driverless backlash, the end game is clear: Machines 1, Humans 0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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