By the year 2030, 25 percent of American citizens will transit via self-driving vehicles – but the situation will be very different in India. This is because India’s transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, announced today that self-driving cars will not be allowed in the country. He told reporters, “We won’t allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this.”
As Engadget reports, the statement does not reflect safety concerns. Rather, Gadkari rejects self-driving vehicles because they could potentially take jobs away from drivers in the country. “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.
India’s transport and highways minister added that the government is working on opening several training facilities across the country in an effort to ensure 5,000 more professional drivers take to the roads over the next few years. He rejects the notion of self-driving vehicles, even while admitting that India is presently short about 22,000 commercial drivers.
Though the decision may seem like a negative development, India wasn’t on track to receive self-driving technology anytime soon. According to statements made by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, this is because the country’s haphazard roads and congested traffic present great barriers to the implementation of driverless cars.
India-based Tata Elxsi is ambitious to introduce autonomous vehicles to the country, however. In recent months, the company has been testing self-driving vehicles on a track designed to resemble the country’s roads. Engineers have even gone as far as to install pedestrians, livestock, unsigned merge lanes and limited signage on the track to give the driverless cars as “real of an experience as possible.” With this new declaration by Gadkari, however, it is unknown what action the company will take.
Images via Pixabay