The Pros and Cons of Robotaxis in LA: A Conversation about Safety and Automation
As society continues to innovate and evolve, we have seen significant advancements in the field of transportation. Recently, the idea of autonomous vehicles – robotaxis – has taken center stage in many discussions. However, the idea of automated transportation has led to controversy and skepticism among some communities.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s recent statement of opposition to robotaxis operating in LA brings up the issue of safety and job loss, leaving us to wonder where the future of transportation will take us.
Let us begin with the challenges that the implementation of automated vehicles presents. The first issue that some have pointed out is the threat to employment. Many believe that implementation of robotaxis ultimately leads to significant job loss for those in the transportation industry. The Mayor of LA also reminds us of the current difficulties being faced amidst the pandemic, potentially compromising the incoming influx of revenue a human workforce creates.
Additionally, some groups in the community have highlighted the safety concerns associated with these vehicles. In fact, one LA-based advocacy group, Southern California Transit Advocates, challenged the reliability of an autonomous vehicle in 2019 when it reportedly ran a red light while being tested in the city’s Downtown Financial District.
On the other hand, there are several benefits associated with robotaxis that cannot be ignored. Taking into consideration the safety aspect, autonomous vehicles promise a drastic reduction in accidents caused by driver error. The decrease in car accidents could, in turn, reduce fatalities, and injuries, making the roads safer for everyone.
Moreover, according to Global Market Insights, the worldwide autonomous taxi service market is set to grow from $2 billion in 2020 to $150 billion by 2030, indicating how this technology could significantly transform the transportation industry.
In regard to the concerns expressed by San Francisco and LA, it is important to note that these are all valid issues that need to be addressed and resolved prior to robotaxis being commercially implemented.
According to Cruise, San Francisco’s automated car service, it has taken the necessary steps to address concerns with safety, including reducing the driving speed of their robotaxis in response to reliability concerns raised by San Franciscans, entering the local market with newer vehicles, and limiting their initial service areas. As a well-established and respected name in the auto industry, GM’s Cruise would undoubtedly streamline their approach to ensure ethical and safe operations if implemented more widely in Los Angeles.
The road to innovation is never an easy one, and with the implementation of robotaxis, its challenges are becoming clear. While job loss, and general safety concerns remain at the forefront of the discussion surrounding robotaxis in the community, it is worthwhile to consider the immense potential for benefits in the future.
Despite the difficulties we face, autonomous vehicles represent an opportunity to improve transportation and mitigate some of the negative consequences of human error. It is essential that before we adopt these changes, we think and plan responsibly, with an eye on continuing to improve transportation while ensuring the safety of our city.
Image Source: Geo EV Adventure, https://shorturl.at/bEV19