- A new coalition, the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO), launched today to investigate how autonomous vehicles (AVs) might affect jobs and how best to use AVs in a variety of industries.
- The members include the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Daimler, FedEx, Ford, Lyft, Toyota Motor North America, Uber and Waymo, according to a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.
- The coalition has three goals to focus on over the next six months: collect data on the implications and effects on AVs, discuss AVs with "a variety of interested parties" and find solutions for workers who may be affected by AV adoption.
Uncertainty over how AVs will affect truck driver jobs and other industries may be the chief concern stalling the AV START Act in Congress, according to a report from Smart Cities Dive, but now industry leaders are collaborating to address those fears.
Apprehension surrounding whether AVs will take jobs from truck drivers has been a major concern since a Senate hearing on AVs last September. At that hearing, the ATA assured senators that truck drivers would still be necessary to run autonomous trucks, and that autonomous trucks would not rob drivers of their jobs.
Looking at the language of the press release, it seems that the PTIO doubts that AVs will hurt job opportunities, instead referring to an AV future rich with "economic gains" and "enhanced employment opportunities."
But even that expectation may be a little too optimistic: manufacturers, for example, believe AV adoption is the future, but hesitate to adopt because they're unsure about regulation, infrastructure and what they'd actually use AVs for.
Despite all the uncertainty, some companies — like Toyota, Uber and Waymo — are already testing AVs, and auto industry conferences suggest automakers are itching to get into the AV testing phase. The PTIO is largely made up of companies and organizations in favor of AV adoption, which could affect how the coalition's findings are presented.
Regulators want to make sure AVs won't hurt job opportunities for humans before they establish a regulatory standard for AV testing and adoption. The U.S. Department of Transportation is already working toward providing a regulatory standard for the freight industries.
The PTIO may be able to provide the research and evidence regulators want to move forward.