Inverness is to see driverless buses trialled in the city very soon. With the city’s university campus chosen as the location for Scotland’s first Autonomous Vehicle pilot scheme!
We are always interested in new automotive technology at IT Garage Services, so we thought we’d have a look at what these buses were. And also what impact they could have on Inverness.
What is a Driverless Bus?
The driverless bus service will provide a route linking Inverness Campus with to the nearby Inverness Retail and Business Park. The route is very small and doesn’t meet much traffic beyond the dog walkers and students on campus. But, the retail park might offer the onboard AI a sterner test.
HITRANS have said that the shuttle service would be used by students and people working on the Inverness Campus. They will be able to access the shopping and business park throughout the day. On average, there are 900 people on working on campus. So, it could be a very well-used service – well worth investing in as the campus strives to be more attractive to local students and those from further afield.
The ‘driverless bus’ moniker might be a bit of a misnomer, however. While the vehicle might be capable of driving itself without being controlled by a human driver, a driver will be on board the vehicle at all times.
The French-built machine can take 15 passengers and run for nine hours on a charge. The vehicle doesn’t have a steering wheel, a driver’s seat, or even brake pedals! The bus is operated by a satellite navigation system with sensors. These sensors propel the busforward and brake when it meets an obstacle.
The trials are due to launch very soon and will run until Spring 2023.
Automations Impact on Jobs
With investment in driverless technology growing, it seems that driverless cars and other buses are an inevitability on our streets.
With technology and artificial intelligence increasingly playing a role in many industries and changing the way we work, will driverless technology take away jobs from human drivers? Bus drivers, taxi drivers, and delivery drivers are the obvious occupations that may be under threat from our machine cousins.
willrobotstakemyjob.com estimate that there is an 89% risk that bus drivers will eventually lose their job to automated methods. That’s not very good odds.
With the amount of investment being made across the board in automation, people employed to drive might find themselves out of the driver’s seat and into another job. Lost jobs in one area of the economy does not always mean that unemployment will increase, however. Jobs lost due to improved technology are normally replaced by new jobs created in other areas.
Jobs can be created to make and design these new machines, and the investment in future machines creates more jobs also.
More automation should mean increased productivity, which enables higher wages and theoretically will lower prices. This may give consumers more disposable income allowing them to spend on a wider range of goods. In turn, creating investment elsewhere in the economy which normally sees more jobs.