A new California bill is in the works that would require a human safety operator inside the truck at all times while it is on the road. AB316 is a simple bill that would hamstring efforts to bring Level 5 truck automation to the Golden State.
In a Teamsters Union press release, the union and the California Labor Federation applauded efforts by California Assembly Members Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Asm. Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), and Asm. Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) on getting the bill through the Transportation Committee and into the Committee on Communications and Conveyance for its next vote. The bill would place a de facto ban on fully automated drone trucks. But there are efforts to either block the bill or bypass it altogether.
Over 40 organizations signed letter for reconsideration of AB316
More than 40 stakeholder groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the CA Small Business Association, U.S. Xpress, and a multitude of CA-based AI developers signed a letter of record opposing the bill. They say that California is falling behind in the fast-paced race, as 22 other states have allowed fully automated and driverless truck operations in their states.
While disheartened, the AI stakeholders are not surprised due to the co-sponsorers of the bill and the lobbying machine behind them. The developers have been sparring with the unions in all avenues, whether it be truck driving, commercial cleaning, or construction tasks, every step of the way to full automation.
The CA DMV might circumvent the legislature by approving AI themselves
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has a history of circumventing the state legislature on AI development. In 2017, the CA DMV allowed cars without any control inputs, such as the steering wheel, pedals, or gear shifter, to be used as part of a test program for Google.
Now the DMV is being looked at as a way to slide past the CA lawmakers and get the ball rolling on high-tiered automation testing. The normal modus operandi is to open a 15-day comment period and then hammer out what needs to be done through the side door in Sacramento.
We’ll see if and when a juke play begins to unfold and will update our readers as it develops.
Read more by Rooster and follow me here! Need to reach out to me, send me an email!
Sign up for the Back The Truck Up Newsletter!
Listen to the Back The Truck Up Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Google Podcasts!