Rachel Bolles, who’s been driving for Uber in the Columbus, Ohio area for just over a year, says her job is about much more than getting passengers from A to B. "I consider myself part nanny, part chauffeur," she says. "A lot of these people just need someone to talk to."
That was more true than ever when Bolles picked up a distraught customer coping with the death of his girlfriend’s father. Having recently lost her own father, Bolles empathized and offered advice during the trip. "It was one of those rides you walk away from feeling really good," she says.
But many observers argue that the approximately 4.6 million Americans who work as professional drivers in the U.S. are at risk of being replaced by self-driving vehicles. Once a far-flung fantasy, the technology is inching closer to reality every day. Silicon Valley firms like Uber and Google , as well as automakers like GM and Ford, view driverless cars as the next holy grail of transportation — and a potentially lucrative market. Already, self-driving cars are picking up passengers in Pittsburgh and Arizona , driverless trucks have made deliveries in Colorado , and London is about to deploy autonomous busses […]