Fully-autonomous cars may still be on horizon, but that far-off land isn't as distant as a lot of people think. And as we draw closer, many are wondering just what impact that promised future will have on the millions of professional driving jobs in this country. According to a new report by Goldman Sachs, the answer is pretty devastating: Self-driving cars and trucks could drain 25,000 jobs per month—or 300,000 a year—from America's bus, taxi, and truck industries when they finally hit the market.
In 2014, there were approximately 4 million people driving professionally in the United States, 3.1 million of which were part of the trucking industry. That majority, coupled with the fact that companies like Uber and Tesla are already working to develop self-driving freight transport technology, means that truck drivers could bear the brunt of the predicted job losses. Additionally, the long distances and demanding nature of the work also make trucking a prime target for automation.
The report takes into account the fact that the introduction of self-driving technology across the board will be slowed down by red tape, but it predicts that autonomous cars will comprise up to 20 percent of new car sales by the end of the next decade. And despite the fact that those 4 million driving jobs represent 2 percent of the entire American workforce, Goldman Sachs believes the overall labor market will be able to absorb the losses as other sectors expand.
Still, this isn't the greatest news for those who make a living behind the wheel. Or, for that matter, in the conductor's seat; billionaire Warren Buffet recently warned that the widespread introduction of autonomous trucks could also eat away at railroad jobs.