NY professional drivers officially begin backlash against self-driving cars

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An organization that advocates for professional drivers has urged New York to ban self-driving cars from the state’s roads for 50 years. The Upstate Transportation Association fears that self-driving cars will eliminate thousands of jobs and damage the local economy.

Experts say it’s the most aggressive move yet to restrict self-driving vehicles, and a sign of things to come.

“Large groups of workers are going to recognize that their jobs are threatened. Today it may be the taxi driver. Tomorrow, it’s all the truckers. Now that it’s been expressed in [upstate New York], we’ll see a lot of it,” said Wendell Wallach, author of “A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond our Control.”

New York state is considering allowing ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate throughout the state. Currently they are only allowed in New York City. On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state would embrace the services.

But the Upstate Transportation Association fears that Uber and Lyft will eventually transition to fully self-driving vehicles, wiping out the jobs of thousands of New Yorkers. (Uber, which has promised 13,000 jobs if it operates in upstate New York, is testing driverless vehicles in Pittsburgh.)

Before New York allows allowing ridesharing services throughout the state, the Upstate Transportation Association wants assurances that those jobs will be protected. (The Association represents taxi, livery, medical transportation and paratransit fleets.)

“It doesn’t do anything for the local economy to have driverless cars,” John Tomassi, president of the Upstate Transportation Association, told CNN. “I’m sure there’s a little bit of job creation, but nothing that will match the number of jobs lost.”

Read the source article at CNNMoney.