India doesn’t want anything to do with self-driving vehicles. The highway and transport minister, Nitin Gadkari, told reporters that he wouldn’t let driverless cars take away jobs.
“We won’t allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this. We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment, you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs,” said Gadkari.
The country already needs thousands more professional drivers on its roads, and the government is planning to open facilities to train thousands of new drivers.
The confirmation will change little in the country, which Google and Uber have already wrote off as a prospective place for self-driving cars, due to its poor roads and chaotic traffic in cities. Some private tests have been carried out by developers, but there have been no public road tests.
The Indian government, while encouraging more investment and development from outsiders, has been against interference with its transport industry. The Modi government announced a $59 billion infrastructure plan for airports, railways, and roads, the majority of which will be built and delivered by the government.
Ola and Uber, the two major ride-sharing services in the country, are in a precarious spot, with the government debating whether to bring them under the Motor Vehicles Act. After the 2014 rape case, involving an Uber driver, calls were made to ban the taxi apps, but the government has reportedly decided to regulate the services.
India has far the most aggressive stance against self-driving vehicles out of all the major economies, with the U.S., China, the U.K., Germany, France, and Australia all accepting the development of autonomous vehicles and some actively funding startups and established players.
Despite the move away from self-driving cars, India has committed to making its entire new fleet of cars electric-powered.