A report from the Center for Global Policy Solutions suggests North Dakota’s economy and workers have a better chance of being disrupted by the adoption of self-driving cars. Car manufacturers and technology companies alike are in a race to get to the market first, and the cultural impacts of adopting this technology will be as transformative as the switch from horse and buggy to the automobile was a hundred years ago.
The CGPS is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on informing policy makers on issues ranging from economics, security, health, and civic success — especially as they impact vulnerable populations. Their assessment of the self-driving future is best summarized in the executive summary of a white paper recently released.
At this moment, more than 30 companies across the globe say they are working on autonomous-vehicle technology. These companies range from computing-technology firms like Apple, Google, and Intel to those usually associated with automobile manufacturing such as BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volvo. Their most optimistic predictions are that in as few as three to five years, fully autonomous vehicles—automobiles without human drivers—will be in regular use on the road.
It’s noteworthy here in North Dakota because we have a proportionally higher number of people working in jobs related to driving. Plus, in North Dakota, our driving jobs also pay better than they do in other places. Here’s the quote that captures their conclusion.
Nevertheless, the states that would be hardest hit by a rapid shift to autonomous vehicles are the states where workers are overrepresented in driving occupations and where driving occupations pay significantly more than non-driving occupations.
- By this standard, the states that are most vulnerable are North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Iowa.
If I were to provide a bit of commentary to the report, it seems to me that policymakers would be wise to begin planning for this transition.