There’s a theory, or possibly a conspiracy theory, doing the rounds at the moment: that taxi apps have been developed to step seamlessly into the driverless car market once the technology hits public roads. By then, they’ll have the branding and reach to instanatly dominate the market – and, oh look, they won’t have to pay drivers anymore.
Uber, for example, launched a driverless car research centre earlier this year. That makes the company’s other statements, about creating 20,000 jobs per month, or a million jobs for female drivers by 2020, ring a little hollow.
But this week, Hailo, the black taxi-rental app, has stuck its neck out in favour of human drivers. In response to George Osborne’s budget announcement of a further £100m investment in driverless technology, the company has launched a campaign aimed at, er, “heroing” (their word, not ours) their drivers.
Giant photos of Hailo drivers will be projecetd onto London buildings in the month leading up to “National Cabbie Day” (27 April), accompanied by the hashtag #FaceToFaceless. In a press release, the company called the campaign “a stand against a driverless world”.