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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says his company’s self-driving cars will create more jobs, not destroy them


Travis Kalanick says that Uber needs to move fast on self-driving cars or face an “existential threat” from foes like Google.

But the CEO’s attitude and ambition may sound an awful lot like a looming existential threat for another group: the thousands of people who drive for the ride-hailing startup.

After all, Uber’s engineering director told Bloomberg that “the goal is to wean us off having drivers in the cars.”

But Kalanick denied in an interview with Business Insider that adding autonomous vehicles to the network will eliminate the need for humans.

Instead, while the percentage of human drivers giving trips may go down, the absolute number of humans may actually go up, he argues:

“If you’re talking about a city like San Francisco or the Bay Area generally, we have, like, 30,000 active drivers. We are going to go from 30,000 to, let’s say, hypothetically, a million cars, right? But when you go to a million cars, you’re still going to need a human-driven parallel, or hybrid. And the reason why is because there are just places that autonomous cars are just not going to be able to go or conditions they’re not going to be able to handle. And even though it is going to be a smaller percentage of the whole, I can imagine 50,000 to 100,000 drivers, human drivers, alongside a million-car network.

“So I don’t think the number of human drivers will go down anytime soon. In fact, I think in an autonomous world, it goes up. In absolute figures. Of course, in percentage it’s down.” – READ MORE

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