September 27, 2023
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Dozen Cruise Robotaxis Clog San Francisco, Austin Streets, City Officials Call on Governor to Act
In one incident in California, about a dozen Cruise robotaxis dangerously clogged San Francisco streets on a busy August night prompting calls by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin for Gov. Gavin Newsom to “do something about this before somebody gets killed.”
Watch the video here.
A month later, the same thing happened in Austin, Texas, where a pair of autonomous vehicles somehow found themselves facing each other, making traffic gridlock even worse.
The California incident occurred the day after the state’s regulators cleared the way for Cruise and Waymo to massively expand robotaxi operations in the region. Just a few days after this dangerous incident, San Francisco officials urged state regulators to put the brakes on robotaxi operations or the city may “suffer serious harm.”
Predictably, Cruise issued a “dog ate my homework” excuse blaming the incident on a wireless technology breakdown rather than admitting that what they are doing is dangerous experimentation on Bay Area roads.
UK eVTOL Aircraft Crashes Prompting Suspended Flights
Amidst an industry frenzy to clear U.S. regulatory approval for advanced air mobility (AAM), an electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) flight in the UK crashed in August.
This crash and others like it around the world underscores the importance of TWU’s warnings against premature US regulatory approval of AAM and all new transportation technologies. In comments filed with the Biden Administration’s US Department of Transportation (DOT), TWU International President John Samuelsen warned that AAM “will require rigorous scrutiny and regulation” by the DOT and its Federal Aviation Administration. Meeting the highest standards, he emphasized, “will require real, mandatory safety requirements for AAM companies, as well as clear, unambiguous mandates for worker engagement throughout the development process – both at the policy and implementation levels.”
Autonomous Truck Route from Dallas to Houston
Uber Freight and Waabi launched an autonomous trucking pilot route between Dallas and Houston as part of what the companies claim is a plan to offer “billions of miles” of autonomous freight service in the next decade. The business partners reached a 10-year deal employing Waabi Driver AI technology that will deploy Waabi’s “driver-as-a-service solution” on Uber Freight’s network.
In California, state lawmakers are pushing in the opposite direction and want to require human drivers on-board autonomous trucks and other vehicles above 10,000 lbs., a move that is opposed by Governor Gavin Newsom who sided with the big tech industry and vetoed legislation.
The California labor movement criticized the Governor’s veto. “We will not sit by as bureaucrats side with tech companies, trading our safety and jobs for increased corporate profits. We will continue to fight to make sure that robots do not replace human drivers and that technology is not used to destroy good jobs,” declared Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who leads the California AFL-CIO.
What we’re reading
Autonomous-Electric Rail Freight? | Forbes
Wilson, NC Replaces All Scheduled Transit Bus Service with On Demand | Associated Press
Venti Aims to Automate Airports, Ports and Factories | Forbes
Chatbots to Train Driverless Cars? | Technology Review
My Hands-Free Drive from Detroit to NYC | Axios