Forced to adapt to new technologies to stay ahead of Uber — which has already started taxi without a driver last year in Pittsburgh, the industry is not at the end of his sentences.
In the testing phase across the world, trucks, buses and autonomous cars promise to change the middle of the transport. Difficult to predict when these intelligent vehicles will roll on the roads of Quebec, but the experts to ensure that a majority of the business sector will suffer, the drivers in the first line.
The truckers will be the first to fall by the wayside, according to Nicolas Saunier, professor at Polytechnique Montréal. “It’s going to go fast, the questions of ethics and safety will arise less, because it carries goods and not humans. “
The tests of trucks-autonomous multiply since 2015 : manufacturers are launching one by one in the race, but also of new entrants to the transport market, such Waymo — a subsidiary of Google, Uber or Tesla. The us company Otto achieved in October 2016 for the account of Budweiser the first delivery by truck without a driver.
Denis Gingras, director of the Lab of intelligence communication, betting instead on the of taxi drivers. Forced to adapt to new technologies to stay ahead of Uber — which has already started taxi without a driver last year in Pittsburgh, the industry is not at the end of his sentences.
Computers on four wheels
A a lesser extent, to other jobs in the sector, linked to the chain maintenance, repair and sale of automobiles, and will also be expected to change, according to Gingras. “The garage will not be more of the mechanics as now, but they will face a number of computers on four wheels. It will require specialists knowledge further. “
They will also be less numerous, think Nicolas Saunier. “The cars are autonomous, and more capable, will not be involved in accidents and less numerous, because shared. “Dealers, rental companies, driving schools and police officers assigned to the traffic controls will share the same fate. A transition period will be necessary, according to experts. “We speak of decades more than years, the time to solve all the issues, technical and ethical,” says Mr. Gingras.
This period will depend on the reaction of the population. “Is it that people will want to keep a human presence to reassure himself ? We saw it with the operators of the elevator, said Mr. Saulnier, remained in place for several years even after their automation. “
“For the moment, no technology can replace the vigilance of the drivers to drive the vehicles and ensure the safety of users,” says Renato Carlone, the president of the syndicate of bus drivers of the STM.
Even the sound of a bell in the Teamsters union. “It is one thing to do a trial truck stand-alone on a beautiful road in the United States in good weather conditions.
It is another to do it in a snowstorm, on roads maganées between Montreal and the Abitibi region “, hue the spokesperson 5500 drivers in Quebec, Stéphane Lacroix.
In urban areas, there is doubt that autonomous vehicles are better drivers than humans. “There are so many variables in the city. It seems almost far-fetched to think of implementing a technology of complete automation in road transport. “