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Old 24th July 2017, 21:31   #1
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Default Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Hi folks,

Just got this piece of news:

Quote:
India will not see driverless cars plying on its roads as Union minister for roads and transport Nitin Gadkari feels that his government would rather protect the jobs of millions of drivers here than see a technological marvel on the streets.

Bolstering his case, the minister said the technology in its present form wasn’t suited for the Indian market and will also render millions of Indian drivers jobless.
Link to full article

The plea given is, it will take away driver jobs. I think this is reminiscent to once upon a time saying "introduction of computers will take away jobs".

What are your views?

Thanks!

Last edited by GTO : 25th July 2017 at 11:14. Reason: Keeping the fair usage policy in mind, it's best to share an excerpt + link to full article. Thanks
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:37   #2
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Contrary to all reason, I am actually happy that they made this decision for now.
Until the general road infrastructure, traffic sense & behaviour and lane discipline, significantly improve, driverless cars would be just too unpredictable in a country like ours.
If at all these issues get issued some day (unlikely), I would welcome driverless cars on our roads, although I wouldn't subject myself to one even then!
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:37   #3
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Won't allow driverless cars for the sake of employment. Is this a joke? It is like saying we won't allow robots in a manufacturing line because we have too many people who are unemployed.

If you don't move with technology, you get left behind - whether it's an individual or a company or a country.

Last edited by reignofchaos : 24th July 2017 at 21:39.
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:42   #4
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

I believe driverless cars cannot be designed to drive alongside cars driven by humans in India.
Add poor road conditions, no/less lane markings, potholes, craters on major roads will lead to further problems.

I believe what Mr Gadkari should focus on is to improve licensing system which requires an overhaul. This should be primary focus along with improving quality of roads.

Also this employment funda seems to be a joke.

Last edited by djay99 : 24th July 2017 at 21:44.
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:43   #5
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Instead of equipping the young for a world of Artificial intelligence and other automated technologies, we are trying to make them outdated by holding on to stupid ideas. One can very well decide not to move ahead, but that won't prevent the world from moving ahead. You either adapt to a rapidly changing world or you end up left out.
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:52   #6
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Everyone is replacable. And this holds true for Mr Gadkari as well. By the time we have the infrastructuure for mass use of Driverless cars, I doubt Mt Gadkari would still be the Transport minister.
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:52   #7
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I would say eliminating humans altogether from the role of a driver will lead to safe roads in India. Human intelligence and AI can't co-exist on our roads.

Last edited by GTO : 25th July 2017 at 11:17. Reason: Typo
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Old 24th July 2017, 21:55   #8
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Forget these cars stealing jobs but I will be extremely worried if they were allowed.

We have a long way to go - In terms of Infrastructure or Road manners.

These cars will also have to undergo stringent testing more at VRDE than ARAI so that the algorithms running on those chips are tweaked to do these tasks flawlessly:
  • Jumping that red light (Red means go faster)
  • Automated Parking right below the No Parking sign
  • Hazards under slightest drizzle
  • Flashing Beams when it's sensors see a flower pot on the road (thinking that it will make way)

Sorry but the Transport ministry isn't being transparent in this regard!!

Who knows, this car might also jump the queue if the wait is longer than 3 minutes at the toll booth.

Last edited by paragsachania : 24th July 2017 at 21:57.
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Old 24th July 2017, 22:02   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
)

Who knows, this car might also jump the queue if the wait is longer than 3 minutes at the toll booth.
nah, they will take out a gun and point it at the attendant or ask about the influence that it's owner holds. trust our guys to innovate. sorry for the OT
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Old 24th July 2017, 22:04   #10
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

This is a good decision. Unlike the west, we have millions who need jobs and driving is still a skill that's in demand. I've worked in manufacturing before- and I've seen what happens when automation kicks in and consultants are roped in to right-size the company. The result- the consultants take in annual fees what the workers would have earned in a decade. The robot requires a royalty payment to foreign companies and does not necessarily improve productivity.

However, if it does improve quality and productivity, manufacturing can use robots- like it happens in the semiconductor factories here.

In India, there's absolutely no point getting autonomous vehicles. First, the infrastructure is not good enough for this. Secondly, if you calculate the cost to the society of one upper middle class person hiring a driver for Rs 1.2L a year (10 k a month- common in Ahmedabad) vs buying an autonomous car for around 70-80 lakhs (that's what the cheapest ones would cost currently given the cost of LIDAR), I'd say paying a poor person 1.2L a month for 20 years will be much cheaper. I sound like a socialist but this is just a practical perspective. You allow someone to live a life of dignity for a very small cost to you, and get served better.

To the people who believe that preventing robots is like restricting progress, please read some of the European newspapers (or even the Singaporean ones). Every Government is talking about an universal basic income scheme for citizens. Can our country afford to pay everyone a wage that can sustain a family in absolutely basic comfort? No. Since there is zero social security, there's a very strong need to restrict AI in areas that do not absolutely need AI. What economic benefits does an autonomous car provide? It is 10 times more expensive than the equivalent human driven car and has very limited job creation potential. If some company like Tesla brings in a fully autonomous car to India in 10 years, they'd make it in China. If they were made in India (which is unlikely within 10 years since we have no semiconductor factories), there would be some job creation potential. But that won't happen. What would happen is that we'd lose more foreign exchange to the countries that produce the software and hardware components. And the wealth gap would widen- which would be really bad for this country.

Technology is a great tool for social transformation- it should be used where it can create value, rather than destroy it. I am glad that the Govt. issued this statement.

Last edited by GTO : 25th July 2017 at 11:17. Reason: Spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th July 2017, 22:53   #11
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nissan1180 View Post
Technology is a great tool for social transformation- it should be used where it can create value, rather than destroy it.
Everything that was said above the quote stands contrary to the statement. Value is perceived. At some point, we will start valuing time over money, memories over instances and society over individuals. Yes, long way to go but it's an eventuality, not just a possibility.

Every single thing mentioned (infrastructure, equity, pay parity, cost of production, fees for consultants etc.) will at some point transform for the social transformation to happen.

I am sad to see how short-sighted our governments are. Not just this one but all of them. In just one (ok, maybe two) more generation, our Uber driver's kids will be graduating from colleges and going on to do wonderful things. They have the internet in their hands and will learn many skills. We will NOT have drivers aplenty. And when that shortage happens, we will look at each other and say "Hey, remember that time when that guy decided we won't allow driverless cars on our roads because we had Uber drivers losing jobs? Uh oh". It's either that or your average Uber driver will want a seven figure salary.

I am all for AI taking over every damn job out there and letting us humans enjoy the fruit of their labor. We just need to find a way to be paid for their work.
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Old 24th July 2017, 23:43   #12
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nohonking View Post
Hi folks,



The plea given is, it will take away driver jobs.
What are your views?
Eventually, after a period of time (could be several years/decades), Driverless cars will pervade progressively all over the world and they will become a reality even in our Country. It is definitely bound to happen, just a matter of by-when ?

Until then, Driverless cars should be permitted in select zones in our Country on an experimental basis. There are lots of aspects unique to our style of driving which the Driverless cars will get to learn, improve and evolve by getting to drive on our relatively unpredictable, un-organized and chaotic road environment. They will have to significantly re-write all their AI-algorithms to successfully cope with the driving conditions here.

Last edited by for_cars1 : 24th July 2017 at 23:52.
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Old 25th July 2017, 00:10   #13
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

The minister is trying to stop a hurricane using an umbrella. Using jobs as an excuse to ban technology never really works. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to banish industrialization and stick to cottage industry. He thought using machines is a great sin. Wonder what he would have thought about machine learning...

If most countries switch to efficient transportation using driver-less cars, India will not be able to compete with them. History is full of examples where such isolation doomed the country that decided to remain isolated using the old traditions.

Here is the reality, whether you like it or not. Machines will take over almost all jobs that don't need human touch. Therefore governments should be thinking about universal basic pay, which enables people to live respectably without jobs. This is a big paradigm shift we all have to face within our lifetime, say within 20 years. Similar discussion happened before.

Like this article says, we need to move on and not make laws to stop progress.

Last edited by Samurai : 25th July 2017 at 00:40.
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Old 25th July 2017, 00:53   #14
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

One of the Bollywood actors would've loved this technology. Because "nobody" was driving the car, remember ?

Jokes aside, this is a meaningless "decision". To make out the the craziness we see on our city/highway roads, the kind of advanced AI that we'd need to cope with our driving & traffic conditions would take eons to develop & implement. Heck, in India we often still debate if Cruise Control was a meaningful addition for our conditions!

If the ministry really wanted to help our poor, they'd develop an app that rivals Uber & Ola, that'd operate at more competitive commission rates & give drivers the leverage to negotiate with aggregators.

IMO this news(/PR stunt) is the usual "all hype & no real work".

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 25th July 2017 at 01:08.
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Old 25th July 2017, 00:56   #15
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Default re: Transport Minister: Driverless cars won't be allowed in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
The minister is trying to stop a hurricane using an umbrella. Using jobs as an excuse to ban technology never really works. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to banish industrialization and stick to cottage industry. He thought using machines is a great sin. Wonder what he would have thought about machine learning...

If most countries switch to efficient transportation using driver-less cars, India will not be able to compete with them. History is full of examples where such isolation doomed the country that decided to remain isolated using the old traditions..
I don't think the analogy applies here. If driverless cars are banned, will people use remote brainlink to hire a robot oversees and steer the car for them?
In manufacturing, if you stop technology, you suddenly find yourself unable to compete with others. But in case of a taxi driver, there is no such problem.

Secondly, Indian roads and infrastructure cannot support driverless cars. For example a lane ending into the divider is not uncommon. Or stop signs posted in the main highway rather than side road entering the highway, or intersections where all the lights are green.

So whether they ban it or not, its not going to happen in a chaotic environment like India where a large percentage of vehicles on highways are not motorized.
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