Uber Drivers Face the Reality of Self-Driving Robot Cars

Have you ever hated your Uber driver? Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with a driver who just could not drive and had major problems with directions. Well, in the future, you may no longer have to deal with Uber drivers.

This may or may not be good as Uber currently employs over a million drivers. The question is, where will those drivers find work? Uber wants to develop a fleet of self-driving vehicles. It made its first push in Pittsburgh Wednesday with their Ford Fusion sedans that are “partially” self-driving since they do come with a safety driver in the event something goes wrong.

For now, rides in these types of cars are free. Although, the fear of Uber drivers is coming to fruition. It should not come as a surprise. Back in 2014, Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick said:

And when those bad boys are made, look, the way to think about it, the magic of self-driving vehicles, is that the reason Uber [is] expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car, you’re paying for the other dude in the car. And so, when there’s no other dude in the car the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle … And of course that means safer rides, that means more environmentally friendly, that means a lot of things. Look, this is the way the world is going. The world isn’t always great.

Kalanick also tweeted this on May 28, 2014:

Drivers on @uber_nyc making $90k/yr Driverless car is a multi-decade transition. Let’s take a breath and I’ll see you in the year 2035

Except, it is 2016 and not 2035. While this is a scary moment for Uber drivers, there are still hurdles to overcome. To illustrate, self-driving cars need to become legal to drive without a safety driver, users have to request a self-driving Uber and Uber needs to purchase the fleet to use throughout its operating cities and hope it pays off.

In terms of economics, Uber would make more profits from self-driving cars. Currently, Uber drivers get 65 to 80 percent of each fare. This means Uber takes home 20 to 35 cents for every dollar made. If drivers are replaced by robot cars, Uber can take 100 percent of the fare. Perhaps the drivers might find work in maintaining the self-driving cars, or, robots might take care of that too.

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