India says NO to Self-driving Cars

Latest news from India is that we are to expect no more news on self-driving cars from that part of the world. Automologist MAC who once frequented India (for what purpose, ask him yourself) brings us the last update on this matter…at least for the foreseeable future. 

The cows breathe a sigh of relief, you think? Image source: Hindustan Times.

“We won’t allow driverless cars in India, I am quite clear on this.” India’s Ministry of Transport has made a stand and announced that there will be NO self-driving or autonomous cars in India, in a move to protect the jobs of perhaps hundreds of thousands of commercial drivers in the country. The Minister of Transport, Nitin Gadkri, said that the Government could not allow technologies that take jobs away. In the announcement, he went further, stating that the country actually needed at least another 22,000 drivers and about another 100 driver training facilities.

Nitin Gadkri, a bit of a Muppet really.
The minister, who belongs to the BJP party, did allow the door to be left open a chink though, when he added that in some years to come, it may be impossible to ignore fully autonomous transport systems (aka self-driving cars) and thereafter change his mind. Whilst the ministry is citing the fear of job losses in a country where mass under-employment is rife, this may not of course be the real reason. Having travelled in India, I simply cannot see how the technology that is being developed in leafy Northern California can be adapted to the completely shambolic mess that India calls a road system.

Anyone that follows this Blog will know that self-driving or autonomous vehicles will be with us sooner rather than later, whether you like it or not. Mostly I think that the move is more about technology for the sake of technology. However, proponents for self-driving vehicles will tell you about the need for more efficient transportation systems as societies gradually leave the land and populate mega cities and the oil runs out.
Back in the day when Rajiv Ghandi was trying to introduce computers into India, the BJP tried to stop this on the grounds that it would cause people to lose jobs, so it does sound like the same ol’ same ol’. Guess we can wait and see.
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