Driverless cars will be widespread by 2020

Rahul Sonnad is CEO of Tesloop, a Los Angeles-based transportation start-up offering zero-emission ride-sharing in Southern California through its fleet of Tesla vehicles.

But while Sonnad, like most of us, is very involved as a citizen in the 2016 election, he’s less engaged as an entrepreneur. Whether Clinton or Trump is elected won’t make much of an immediate difference to transportation policy, he suspects.

That said, however, he is very impressed with Obama’s transportation policy, particularly the recently announced guidelines on autonomous cars. He’s also a big supporter of California’s electronic car incentives which, he sees, as having a much bigger impact than most Federal government initiatives.

By the 2020 election, however, Sonnad believes that driverless cars will have become ubiquitous. The impact will be “completely transformative”, he said.

And while it’s hard to imagine the kind of issues that will dominate the 2020 election, Sonnad suggests that the autonomous car might well have become a more relevant political issue by then.

If Sonnad is correct, we should also expect the ubiquity of driverless cars to have an impact on the increasingly angry debate around technological unemployment, especially given the broader impact of AI on traditional industrial jobs.

As always, many thanks to CALinnovates for their support in the production of this interview.