In The Verge, Guidehouse Insights explains how halting autonomous vehicle testing is causing turmoil among human backup drivers
Autonomous vehicles (AV) are intended to make human drivers obsolete, however, mass temporary shutdowns from the coronoavirus pandemic is showing that the technology still heavily relies on a large workforce of contract laborers.
The development process for self-driving vehicles won’t be affected by the temporary shutdown, as most companies can continue testing in simulation, explained Abuelsamid. However, the real impact will be felt by the hundreds of human workers, oftentimes employed by third-party staffing agencies, who enable public car testing daily.
“This is likely to last more than a few weeks and like many other workers in food, retail and other businesses they are going to be hurting,” Abuelsamid said.
Nobody is certain what will happen beyond these next few weeks, given the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus.
However, Abuelsamid expects, “AV startups will be hurting, but more from lack of revenue and funding opportunities going forward."