India bans self-driving cars over job loss fears
The government blockade isn\'t the only obstacle standing in the path of self-driving cars in India.
India has banned companies like Google from testing self-driving cars on its roads. Government officials are concerned the technology will eliminate jobs.
"We won't allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this. We won't allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment, you can't have a technology that ends up taking people's jobs," affirmed Nitin Gadkari, India's transport minister, in an interview with the Hindustan Times.
Instead, the government plans on opening 100 training facilities across the nation to train roughly 22,000 commercial drivers.
The government blockade isn't the only obstacle standing in the path of self-driving cars in India. The road system poses a challenge to autonomous technology because traffic can be chaotic. Jaguar - Land Rover parent company Tata has already started testing autonomous software in a highly-modified Nano, but a recent Bloomberg report points out the software needs to navigate pedestrians darting through traffic at will, multiple lanes that merge without warning, poor signage, and stray cattle lingering on the roadside.
"After training and feeding hundreds of photos, our system cannot identify 15 percent of the vehicles on the Indian road," Nitin Pai, senior vice president and head of strategy and marketing at Tata Elxsi, told Bloomberg.
It's unclear whether Tata will continue to develop its self-driving software now that the ban is set in stone. Government officials say they won't change their mind about the ban in the near future, but the situation could evolve in the coming years.
"Maybe some years down the line we won't be able to ignore it, but as of now, we shouldn't allow it," affirmed Gadkari.