California Bill Banning Autonomous Trucks Progresses

The California, the state that’s home to most Silicon Valley autonomous vehicle development, is one step closer to passing a bill that effectively bans driverless commercial trucks in California.

According to CCJ magazine, the bill – AB316 –passed the state Committee on Communications and Conveyance this week.

The bill prohibits an operation of an autonomous vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more on public roads for testing purposes, transporting goods or transporting passengers without a human safety operator physically inside the truck at the time of operation.

California is home to more than a half-dozen developers of autonomous technologies, yet isn’t one of the 22 states that allow the testing of driverless vehicles on the road.

Ahead of the hearing, more than 55 business organizations and companies interested in AV trucks signed a letter opposing the bill.

“… AB316 continues to be an effective ban on this life-saving technology with no pathway for Californians to benefit from autonomous trucks,” the group wrote in its letter. “… supporters of AB 316 have shown zero evidence that AV trucks are unsafe or will cause mass layoffs of truck drivers. This committee is being asked to take action based on nothing more than speculation.”

Even as AB316 passes through the California legislature, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is considering a regulatory framework that would allow for autonomous vehicles over 10,000 pounds to hit the road, possibly within one year, without consent from the state legislature, reports CCJ.

Full CCJ story here.

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