The American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township has commissioned a workforce study being undertaken by Michigan State University and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to begin to understand and quantify impacts on today’s transportation jobs from the introduction of autonomous vehicles.
The study will focus on professional driving-related jobs including professional truck drivers, taxi drivers, and delivery drivers (approximately 3.5 million total drivers in the U.S.).
“Our goal is to ensure that employees, employers, and policymakers are informed about the potential developments, so they can approach them proactively rather than reacting to issues as they arise,” says Soraya Kim, ACM’s chief innovation officer, who is leading the education initiative.
The study, led by MSU, will also identify how the future workforce should be trained to provide the skilled jobs that will power the development and deployment of new technology. The results will be shared this summer.
“The impacts depend largely on the way that the technology will really be introduced and utilized, as well as the readiness and rate of introduction,” says John Maddox, president and CEO of the American Center for Mobility. “No one yet knows if, how, or when jobs will be affected.”
Texas A&M Transportation Institute is supporting the study based on its research in truck platooning.
“Connected and automated technologies have the potential to create a safer and less stressful occupation for platooning truck drivers while creating opportunities to be involved with cutting-edge technologies that will change the way freight logistics will be delivered in the future,” says Christopher Poe, assistant director, connected and automated transportation strategy at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
ACM, located on the 500-acre historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township, is a global center for testing and validation, product development, education, and standards work for CAVs and other technologies.
To date, $110 million has been secured to construct the first two phases, and additional private investment announcements are expected soon. The next phase of construction will begin this spring.
AARP and Waymo are co-sponsors of the study.