“Is Technological Progress Hindered by Anti-Innovation Measures? Self-Driving Trucks Banned in California, Waymo Halted by San Francisco Supervisors”

California Assembly Passes Bill Requiring Human Drivers in Autonomous Trucks

The California Assembly has passed AB 316, which includes a provision that requires self-driving trucks to have a human driver present during testing. The provision was lobbied for by the Teamsters’ union and, if passed as law, would require a Senate equivalent and the signature of the governor. The law would require the driver to be present until at least 2029. Self-driving truck developers argue that the technology needs to move forward without a driver as soon as practicable. Waiting until 2029 in California essentially pushes the technology out of the state, even though many of the companies have a substantial presence there.

Backlash Against Self-Driving Technology

As the development of self-driving technology has progressed, backlash has begun to emerge. Some of this backlash will be emotional or from those who feel commercially threatened by the technology. Others will be legitimate concerns regarding public safety and road disruption issues related to piloting emerging technology. The issue of job preservation for those in the trucking industry has emerged as a contentious topic. Many Teamsters drive for a living and sympathies lie with those who feel they are at risk of career displacement. However, efforts to preserve jobs that pose a safety risk are viewed as unjustifiable.

The Battle Between San Francisco and Robotaxi Companies

The robotaxi companies have faced opposition in San Francisco, particularly from the city officials that want more say in how the companies operate there. The city has been frustrated by its limitations, and its perception that the robotaxi companies have exploited it and shown insufficient respect to the city. The vote to block Waymo’s request to convert warehouse space to parking spaces for employees at a new industrial facility was unanimous among those present, showing that the issues between the city and the robotaxi companies are escalating. While companies like Waymo and Cruise are based in the SF Bay Area, San Francisco has historically been resistant to adopting new technologies developed within its borders, potentially making it a difficult testing ground for such companies.

The Need for Reconciliation

Ultimately, the feelings and perceptions of both sides matter in this debate. Passive-aggressive battles between cities and technology companies are unlikely to benefit anyone. A few snafus in the implementation of new technology are arguably acceptable if they result in reduced road risk in the long run. While the issues between San Francisco and robotaxi companies are complex, both parties should make an effort to reconcile their differences in a way that benefits society at large.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

“Experience Accelerated Growth: Startups with Office-Based Employees Grow 3.5 Times Faster, As Per Steve Blank’s Analysis”

Revving Up Startup Growth Across Europe: A Fascinating Talk with Ben Marrel, Co-Founder of Breega