California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have banned heavy-duty driverless trucks from operating in the state. This news is a relief for companies developing autonomous technology to transport goods across America.
Governor Newsom said in his veto message that any rules made by the Department of Motor Vehicles will be transparent, including input from stakeholders and experts to ensure safety. He directed the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to develop recommendations to mitigate any potential impact on jobs from the deployment of such vehicles.
Labor-backed Assembly Bill 316, which requires the presence of a trained human driver in autonomous vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds, was passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the state legislature. If the legislature chooses to vote in favor of the bill with a two-thirds majority in each house, the veto can still be overturned by the Governor. However, this is rare and has not occurred in California since 1979.
Labor unions led by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are demanding Governor Newsom sign the bill, saying autonomous trucks, some of which weigh more than 80,000 pounds are unsafe and will eliminate jobs.
While many states, including Texas and Arkansas, allow the testing and operation of self-driving trucks. Alphabet, Apple and some of the most cutting-edge tech startups bans autonomous trucks weighing more than 10,001 pounds.
Developing autonomous technology has proven more difficult and expensive than expected, leading to job cuts and even company closures. Some that are still testing and deploying driverless trucking operations include Aurora, Daimler Trucks, Kodiak Robotics and Gatik.
Check also: How to Start a Wine Business in California (CA)