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Driverless Cars Could Have Consequences For Ohio Jobs, Kasich Warns

Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. John Kasich speaks to the Ohio Transportation Engineers Conference in Columbus.

Ohio wants to be a leader for the automated vehicles industry. But Gov. John Kasich is warning that as the nation prepares for self-driving cars, it must also prepare for some major consequences.

The state is trying to integrate automated vehicles into its transportation framework. But Kasich, a proponent of automated vehicles, told the Ohio Transportation Engineers Conference that the rise of driverless vehicles can mean a loss of jobs for professional drivers.

Kasich says that can be offset if the state starts training for new skills now.

“If you think we’re divided between those that have it and those that don’t, you haven’t seen anything yet because the disruption that’s gonna come because of the digital revolution will displace people,” Kasich said.

Kasich is pushing education he says would give people 21st century skills and certificates rather than just the traditional four-year college degrees.

Ohio is investing heavily in driverless and self-driving vehicles, including efforts to make U.S. Route 33 a "smart corridor" with a fiber optic network, WiFi, and sensors to help guide autonomous vehicles.

While the industry has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, government regulation and the insurance industry have been slow to catch up.

Columbus has also made autonomous vehicles a focus of investment and innovation after winning a $40 million federal "Smart City" grant to help lead the way on transportation technology projects.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.