Home > Uncategorized > UBER to Deploy Self-Driving Cars; Where Does That Leave Plaintiff-Drivers?

UBER to Deploy Self-Driving Cars; Where Does That Leave Plaintiff-Drivers?

Happy Friday, dear readers!

It’s no secret that your humble blogger is tickled pink at the idea of technology providing a safer and more cost-effective way of delivering goods and services to the population.  In fact, it’s the opposite of a secret… your humble blogger screams it from the mountain tops and pours it unendingly into the virtual pages of this elegantly named “blog” … so much so that some of my more confused readers have demanded their money back from subscribing.

Anywho, UBER has been in the news recently with respect to its massive litigation in trying to legally answer the question: are UBER drivers employees or… something else?  Well, Bloomberg reports that UBER’s $100 millon settlement has been rejected by the class action Judge.  UBER itself has taken a fairly hard stance saying its ready to continue litigating these cases.

Well, if you’re wondering why – why incur the chilling effect litigation has on investors when you’ve already gotten to the point where you could likely afford to make the drivers employees and still be profitable.  UBER is, after all, no longer David but a Goliath of sorts.

Your humble blogger’s thinking dwells to the Lays of Ancient Rome, as spake brave Horatius:

“Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul;
With all the speed ye may:
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three.
Now who shall stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?”Horatius defends the bridge at Rome

Now, on the naively optimistic chance that some of you are still reading this, allow me to explain further what I mean.

In other news, Bloomberg has reported that Pittsburgh will enjoy the benefit of self-driving cars, with a human-driver supervisor on board, to gradually phase out its purely human-driver UBER cars.  Just think about that for a minute – if the brave attorneys representing UBER in court can delay resolution of the matter long enough, it won’t really matter whether UBER drivers are employees or independent contractors – they’ll all be out of work anyway.  Litigation is a yon strait path, indeed.

UBER is in that unique position where it is experience the outrageous costs of a human work force with modern Labor Laws, but has in its arsenal both the technological network and the monetary resources to replace that workforce with automation.

While UBER does the heaving lifting in forming a breach in legislation for self-driving cars, its lowering the cost of following suit for competitors and other industries.  The general trend across the board is towards replacing human drivers with self-driving cars and trucks (soon to be followed by boats and airplanes).

Think of how much cheaper it will be to get from point A to point B when (1) freight trucks stop for gas and not sleep or food; (2) couriers stop to recharge batteries, not to take breaks; (3) the flow of goods and people does not stop for vacations, sick leave, or injuries; and (4) customers do not have to pay the costs of overtime, workers’ compensation insurance, etc.

Vroom-Vroom, dear readers… and have a good weekend!

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  1. Sapna Singh
    August 19th, 2016 at 08:22 | #1

    Not the most optimistic way to begin your morning, but it sounds terrible and the future is here. I am not getting into one of those self driving cars as I would rather trust a human. Über hires anyone as a driver and at depositions, injured workers have acknowledged driving for Uber on the side and disclosed past DUIs and accidents. Maybe vetting would be better if they were employees but I am a big fan of the gig economy and Uber shows it works.

    • Gregory Grinberg
      August 19th, 2016 at 13:37 | #2

      I understand the feeling – I’m sure people said the same thing about cars replacing horses: why would you want a brainless automaton when you could have a horse that’s smart, can sense danger, and knows the way home? Thus is the way of technological progress a bit less human control at each step.

  2. Tom Harbinson
    August 19th, 2016 at 09:31 | #3

    Enjoy the ride! It’s safer to walk. Next, lawyers will be replaced by electronic legal drones and mates by sex dolls. A better world if you want to live there.

    • Gregory Grinberg
      August 19th, 2016 at 13:39 | #4

      I was thinking about that, and a lot of the modern office is already automated. So many clerical functions have been replaced by e-mail and electronic filing already. The legal research that once took up hours of paralegal or attorney time is now done at a fraction of the cost using Lexis. I’m not sure about the sex dolls, though – I’ll have to do some research and get back to you.

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