The Automation of the Taxi Industry – Taxi Drivers’ Expectations and Attitudes Towards the Future of their Work
Advoc ates of autonomous driving predict that the occupation of taxi driver could be made obsolete by shared autonomous vehicles (SAV) in the long term. Conducting interviews with German taxi drivers, we investigate how they perceive the changes caused by advancing automation for the future of their business. Our study contributes insights into how the work of taxi drivers could change given the advent of autonomous driving: While the task of driving could be taken over by SAVs for standard trips, taxi drivers are certain that other areas of their work such as providing supplementary services and assistance to passengers would constitute a limit to such forms of automation, but probably involving a shifting role for the taxi drivers, one which focuses on the sociality of the work. Our findings illustrate how taxi drivers see the future of their work, suggesting design implications for tools that take various forms of assistance into account, and demonstrating how important it is to consider taxi drivers in the co-design of future taxis and SAV services.