As autonomous vehicles make their way out of the pages of science fiction and onto the highways of the real world, the question remains exactly what type of impact this emerging technology will have on the workforce in Detroit.
In the city of Detroit, a city known for being the backbone of America’s auto industry, over 25% of its households do not own an automobile. To make matters worse, its public transportation system is described as one of the worst in the country. This makes going to and from work difficult, if not impossible for many of that city’s citizens.
Ready access to reliable transportation is essential to maintaining employment. If you live in the suburbs or just outside of the regular routes of the city’s bus lines, this is problematic.
Autonomous vehicles open the doors to more people in more areas gaining access to easy transportation. Commercial services like Uber are already testing autonomous vehicles in US markets with hopes to expand their efforts to additional markets as the results of these tests come in.
Detroit benefitting from other cities’ initiatives
From a municipal standpoint, some US cities are making plans for their own autonomous public transportation that can pick citizens up at specific addresses, eliminating the need for them to travel to designated locations such as bus stops. Autonomous cars don’t require drivers that are limited by eight-hour workdays and the needs to take breaks.
For the citizens of Detroit, a city with more available jobs in its suburbs than inside city limits for workers with a high school level of education, and not enough available jobs for its high number of unemployed citizens, having reliable transportation that extends beyond the central Detroit area and into these employment centers is critical.
Detroit is a perfect spot for companies to create a proof of concept for their low-cost autonomous vehicle services. By offering inexpensive, reliable transportation to its citizens and enabling them to access employment centers on the outskirts of the city, the results would not only be a great boon to the local economy, but a perfect public relations win for the technology as it gains the trust of drivers and passengers alike.