Taxi firms want a say in driverless developments
By Kyle Lindsay
Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 09:00
Taxi industry offers its advice
Minicab and taxi industry calls for its drivers to be central to driverless cars developments
A minicab and taxi steering group hosted by Kabbee, London’s leading licensed minicab comparison and booking app, has called for experienced minicab and taxi drivers to be invited to support driverless cars developments in London.
The group convened last month, bringing together key representatives of the licensed minicab and black cab industry such as the LTDA, TfL, Kabbee and Get Taxi to discuss the potential impact driverless cars could have on London-based taxi drivers and licensed minicab fleets.
The discussion revealed a range of positives that will eventually come out of the adoption of driverless cars as cabs, but also came with grave concerns that the technology will not compare to the knowledge that London’s taxi and minicab drivers possess.
The members of the group agreed that driverless vehicles would have a much stronger proposition as a ‘service’ to passengers if existing experienced drivers with the knowledge of London’s roads, and understanding of what passengers need and want when moving around the city, are consulted.
Justin Peters, Founder and CEO of Kabbee, comments on the outcome of the industry roundtable: “In order for driverless minicabs to become a reality, the existing drivers must be central to developments of driverless cars, if they are going to have the maximum positive impact on the city.”
With this in mind, the steering group will be sending a letter to all manufacturing, technology, GPS and research partners, amongst other stakeholders to suggest a collaboration with a cross-section of experienced minicab and taxi drivers, to support progress.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA commented during the steering group: “Driverless taxis would struggle to fulfil many of the services currently carried out by taxi drivers, assisting disabled passengers, especially those in wheelchairs. Helping passengers with luggage and ensuring vulnerable people and women alone get safely inside their homes before driving away. I also suspect many customers will prefer interacting with real people rather than an anonymous automatic box, driverless taxis are not yet a reality as far as I am concerned.”