In early May, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that legalized the use of self-driving across the state. The bill also stated that ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft could also use autonomous vehicles legally. The news was music to the ears of these companies, but they seem to be the only ones applauding the new law.
“The fact of the matter is that one person has already been killed by a self-driving Uber car in Arizona,” says Jeanmarie Whalen of Domnick Cunningham & Whalen. “That was just over one year ago. It is hard to believe that Uber has corrected the problem and that this same thing will not happen here in Florida. I think all residents have reason for concern once autonomy takes over our roads.”
Since that time, Uber did relaunch their autonomous ride-sharing program in Pennsylvania in December of 2019. There have not been any problems there as of yet. However, Teslas, which are semi-autonomous, are holding in their popularity even though a man was recently killed when one drove under a semi-truck.
It has only been a few years since self-driving vehicles have even been considered a possibility, yet so many stories of car accidents involving autonomous vehicles have already emerged. It is no wonder residents have concerns about the increased presence of these vehicles on the roads. However, these are not the only concerns that Floridians have with the latest news from the legislature.
Thousands of Floridians make their living driving for companies such as Uber and Lyft. Their primary concern is that self-driving cars will save these companies money and they will stop using human drivers altogether. Uber is currently trying to recoup the $1.8 billion they lost in 2018. Replacing humans with robots is one way to significantly increase their profit margins. The question is whether their money-making decision will come with a human cost.