The CEO of this Uber rival thinks there will still be a place for drivers in autonomous taxis

Blacklane CEO Jens WohltorfBlacklaneBlacklane CEO Jens Wohltorf.

Autonomous cars may be just around the corner but the CEO of one taxi company thinks his fleet of drivers will still have a job in the car.

Jens Wohltorf, CEO of Berlin-headquartered Blacklane, told Business Insider in Berlin last week that passengers like having someone else in the car with them.

As a result, he believes that drivers will become more like cabin crew when the vehicles figure out how to drive themselves.

“When autonomous cars arrive, they [drivers] will have the time to concentrate on different things more often,” said Wohltorf, whose company offers a professional chauffeur service to people via a mobile app, website or hotline. “There is a cabin crew in every aeroplane, right?”

Driverless cars are already being trialled on public roads around the world and they could be rolled out more widely within the next five years.

One of Blacklane’s biggest investors is German automotive giant Daimler, which is developing the technology to support driverless vehicles. Elsewhere, rival taxi-hailing company Uber is also developing driverless car technology.

“We are very close to the developments,” said Wohltorf. “Certainly when we arrive at design decisions we have this at the top of our heads.”

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