Waymo, UPS, others pressure Gov. Newsom to allow autonomous trucking in California – TechCrunch

Waymo, Aurora, UPS and Luminar are among a group of 34 autonomous vehicle developers, California business organizations, and automotive and logistics companies that have signed one open letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who asked him to reconsider the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ 2015 ban on operating autonomous trucks in the state.

California began regulating autonomous vehicles in 2012, and was the main battleground state for robotaxi operations. late last week, Cruise began charging for fully driverless tripsand recently Waymo opened driverless testing for employees in San Francisco. Despite opening up the AV regulations to larger AVs for the Purposes of delivery in 2019do the DMV’s regulations still exclude autonomous testing or the use of vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds.

Texas, the state that takes in all of Silicon Valley’s tax evaders, was home to most of the country’s autonomous truck operations, with companies like Waymo Via, aurora, Kodiak robotics, Just do and more either testing or operating commercial partnerships. Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada and Colorado also have testing and deployment regulations for autonomous trucks.

California is a leader in regulating light-duty autonomous vehicles, particularly robo-taxis, but the backers of the letter to Newsom argue that without updated autonomous-truck regulations, the state will fall behind in terms of technological advances and business opportunities.

“Without regulations to allow this technology, California risks losing our competitive advantage,” the letter reads. “As the industry introduces new pilot programs, builds critical infrastructure, and creates the 21st-century jobs that California businesses need to thrive, investment is limited to other states that allow autonomous truck deployments.”

The letter pages a study recently published by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundationan advocacy group with a mission to maintain Silicon Valley’s place as the international capital of tech innovation, which finds that automated trucking in California will boost the state’s economy by $6.5 billion or more and up to 2,400 could create new jobs.

In states where autonomous trucking is legal and regulated, AV companies are not only testing and deploying their technology, but also building the infrastructure needed to run a commercial service.

For example, Waymo Via has doubled its power Transfer Hub Network in Texasenabling the company to adopt a blended automated and manual trucking approach that ensures the Waymo driver, Waymo’s AV stack, stays on major thoroughfares and human drivers handle first and last mile deliveries.

The letter was signed by a range of industry representatives, from AV technology companies like Waabi, Embark and Einride, to logistics companies like DHL Supply Chains, UPS and US Xpress, to members of various California Chambers of Commerce and more.

California recently passed the SB 500a law mandating that all light-duty autonomous vehicles operating in the state must be electric by 2030. While Monday’s letter to Newsom says the signers would welcome the opportunity to work with the governor’s office to develop a regulatory framework for autonomous trucking in the state, the group is more focused on getting the green light , to get heavy trucks on the road than to ensure autonomous trucking in the state is done with zero-emission vehicles from the start.

“Part of the problem here is that we’re standing still, which means nothing can happen,” Peter Katz, president and CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, told TechCrunch. “So if you’re talking about whether they should be electric or gas powered, that’s almost way too far ahead of a question. First we need to find out what the requirements are in order to be able to answer them intelligently. From a business perspective, this is a congestion that really needs to go away for everything else to open up and flow.”

The letter, sent to Newsom on Monday, follows a similar letter to the governor written by a group of seven California lawmakers and sent out in May. This notice requested information from the Administration on the steps taken by the DMV to understand the emerging heavy-duty AV truck technology and its implications in California. why California has lagged behind other states in regulating AV transportation; and when will the DMV begin the heavy AV truck rulemaking process and by what date will these rules be complete.

Waymo, UPS, others pressure Gov. Newsom to allow autonomous trucking in California – TechCrunch Source link Waymo, UPS, others pressure Gov. Newsom to allow autonomous trucking in California – TechCrunch

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