The old science fiction trope of the worker being replaced by the robot is a tired idea, or is it?
In a recent article, posted by the MIT Technology Review, Uber is apparently looking to start delivering McDonald’s by way of drones. It’s called Uber Elevate. This is just one of the many ways in which drone technology may be shifting how business is done. According to the most recent reports, San Diego will be the first market to test out the aerial delivery service. Depending on the Federal Aviation Administration and pending approval, this could happen as early as this summer. So what could this mean for the Uber Eats Drivers out there?
Are you out of a job?
Not just yet, in fact, I don’t personally think that at this stage in the game anyone should be worried. There are many kinks to be ironed out as this process moves forward, including a heavy beta test to prove its viability. With that being said, it is a sign of something far more omninous for rideshare drivers in general. The simple fact is that the rideshare business model has thrived on cheap, contract labor but they won’t always need to. Skynet jokes have long been cast at tech companies like Google. Now, Uber looks poised to take the concept of automated labor to the next level. Drones are only the first piece of the puzzle.
Check out this resourceful article: 8 Legit, Money-Making Gigs Like UBER to Stack Your Side Hustle
Why you shouldn’t be worried…
Amazon has been toying with the idea of delivering packages by drone for years now, with programs like Amazon Flex as the bridge. Yet, still, we don’t see millions of drones clouding the skies, forcing passersby to dodge left and right. It remains to be seen whether or not the F.A.A. will relax their attitude towards private drone flight, and why should they? Let’s just think about all of the things that could go wrong. For instance, Uber Elevate plans to deliver meals to designated areas where the customer would meet the drone. A few things stick out right away.
It’s impersonal as hell.
Despite the current trend to automate everything in our world, people still crave interaction, even if they deny it. Uber has been successful, in no small part thanks to its drivers. 5 Star ride quality is one of the contributing factors to why the rideshare giant crippled the cab industry. Imagine having to walk to a street corner, who knows how far from home. Then you wait for a drone to deliver your McDonald’s. Sure there will certainly be a novelty factor. But, what happens when the drone gets lost, hits a customer, or spills your already melted milkshake?
It’s a cool idea, but a logistical nightmare.
I’m usually not the first person to call out futuristic ideas for their viability, especially not after how wrong I was about the iPad. But this just screams, nightmare. I’ve no doubt that Uber and others like Amazon will give it a fair shake, and they may succeed, but it just seems far fetched and not as cost effective as one might assume. Imagine drones in rural areas, it might as well be a skeet shooting contest. There will be backlash from special interest groups and concerned mothers as well as the inevitable interference from the F.A.A. even if this thing gets off the ground.
What does it mean for rideshare drivers?
As of now, not much, but you should be prepared for the inevitable emergence of automation. Uber has made it abundantly clear that they will be moving their business model to self-driving cars. That could happen sooner than we can estimate. Make no mistake that will be the vanguard to drone delivery. Once Pandora’s box is opened there’s no putting it back in. Drivers will be a thing of the past and you should be prepared to make the switch. For the time being, we are safe from the robotic apocalypse, but for how long?