A message from PTIO Board Member Marie Hocker, Ford:
I was honored to participate recently in the Congressional Black Caucus’s “Future of Work” panel, led by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). My focus was primarily on how the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs) will affect the future of work – specifically how we at Ford, and others in the transportation industry, are preparing for society’s transition to AVs and the impact that the technology will inevitably have on our nation’s workforce.
At Ford, we foresee tremendous opportunity to come from the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles. While the potential benefits for our communities are many – such as more affordable and accessible transportation services, reductions in congestion and reductions in the 40,000 traffic fatalities every year – it is vital that we also identify the potential challenges and address them head on.
Safety, of course, is the number one concern for those of us working on AVs, but also of huge importance to us are the economic and social effects the introduction of this technology will have on our workforce, particularly those in the transportation sector. I have a personal connection and commitment to addressing this question.
My dad was a taxi cab driver, an occupation that is sure to be affected, and like me, those of you who have a family member, friend, or constituent in your community who may be asking if they’re going to lose their job as a result of this technology, also understand our collective concerns.
That is why Ford joined with the American Trucking Associations, Daimler, FedEx, Lyft, Toyota, Uber, and Waymo in forming a new coalition called the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity, also known as PTIO.
Together with our representatives on Capitol Hill and other key stakeholders, PTIO is committed to exploring the potential impacts that AVs may have on the nation’s workforce.
The introduction of the autonomous vehicle and its begetter, artificial intelligence, are predicted to bring the greatest changes to the workplace since the Industrial Revolution, but the impact on workers will be felt differently since the changes will likely happen in a period measured in years rather than many decades. We don’t have all the answers yet, and although we do know autonomous vehicles are not going to take over the world tomorrow, the time to plan and prepare is here, today.
In the meantime, the primary objectives of PTIO are to:
- Convene key stakeholders—all levels of government, labor, colleges and think-tanks—to have an open and honest dialogue about the transition from traditional to autonomous vehicles;
- Develop a data-driven understanding of the impacts of AVs on working people and work with you to shape public policies that will benefit the entire workforce; and
- Share information about existing and near-term career opportunities for workers during the transition.
We at PTIO, and I personally, look forward to a very fruitful association with you and other stakeholders as we strive together to address the evolving challenges and opportunities of modern technology.
Ford Motor Company
PTIO Founding Member