Taxis in NYC Want to Ban Self-Driving Cars

Taxi and limo drivers in upstate New York want their state to ban self-driving cars until 2067.

In New York, the Upstate Transportation Association is pushing back against self-driving vehicles. The group fears that ridesharing companies (Uber and Lyft) will eventually transition to fully self-driving vehicles, and eliminate thousands of jobs from New Yorkers. So far, ridesharing services are only allowed to operate in New York City. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently revealed that the entire state would embrace ridesharing services.


Uber has promised to bring 13,000 jobs to upstate New York, but taxi drivers fear that those jobs will be eliminated with the introduction of driverless cars. As more people get around using ridesharing apps, the approximately 239,900 taxi drivers in the U.S. face the loss of their jobs. 

Uber is already testing driverless vehicles in Arizona and Pittsburgh. A fleet of Uber’s self-driving cars left California for Arizona last month after the the California Department of Motor Vehicles threatened legal action. Uber has been instructed to apply for a permit so their driverless vehicles can operate legally in California — an offer they do not plan on accepting.

“Anyone who believes Uber will create jobs should also be willing to protect them from automation,” Tomassi wrote in his letter. “If you approve a ride-sharing expansion without a ban on driverless cars, you will be turning new jobs into lost jobs.” So far, there has not been a response from the Governor.

self driving cars


Self-driving cars don’t drink and drive, apply makeup or text while driving, but there are other safety concerns. For example, an autonomous car can’t control other driver’s behaviors. Driverless cars also face problems when the lines on the road are concealed by poor weather conditions. Self-driving cars use cameras to detect obstacles, so rain and snow make navigation more difficult (just as they would for a human driver).

Perhaps the most daunting decisions a self-driving car has to make are ethical ones. For example, a pedestrian attempts to jay walk but fails to see the car coming. Does the driverless car stop and risk injury to its passenger or hit the pedestrian? Who has priority? A computer algorithm is determined before an emergency event occurs, and cannot make an organic and spontaneous decision. So far, engineers have no clear answer on this.


Tesla, Toyota, BMW, Volvo, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, Audi, Honda, and Hyundai are just some of the automakers testing out the technology to bring self-driving cars to the market. Many of these vehicles will not be fully autonomous at first – they will be considered partially automated and still require a driver.

In the race to put self-driving cars on the road, there are still many things to figure out. Questions remain about governmental regulations, safety needs, and insurance liability. It will be a while yet before American roads are full of autonomous cars.

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